Arsen Zakharyan from Dynamo – how much stronger he is than Arshavin, Golovin, Miranchuk, Kerzhakov, transfer to Chelsea

Already in winter, Arsen Zakharyan can move to Chelsea. Midfielder “Dynamo” is considered one of the strongest RPL teenagers – his statistics can really be envied. But is it so good against the background of other young Russians who have already played in the top European championships?

Chelsea want Zakharyan because of his cool stats at 19. But this is not only important

It’s no secret that Arsen is a mega-talent. But without Sandro Schwartz, we might not have known this. Almost immediately after joining Dynamo, the coach gave young players playing time – namely, Tyukavin and Zakharyan. Arsene got off to a crazy start – two goals and five assists in the first 10 meetings. I was also struck by the universalism: the German used the midfielder in different positions: on the left in the attack, under the attackers and even in the place of the “eight”. The potential of the guy was also appreciated by Valery Karpin – Zakharyan played for the Russian national team in the fall of 2021 (four matches and one assist).

Two years of Arsen Zakharyan's adult career in numbers

Two years of Arsen Zakharyan’s adult career in numbers

Arsen made his debut for Dynamo at the age of 17 and has been conquering the RPL for almost two years now. According to the results of the past, Arsen even received the “First Five” (a prize for the best young player). And in the summer, the midfielder almost left for Chelsea. Difficulties with transfer payments prevented the change of league, but London plans to close the deal in the winter.

If everything works out, Zakharyan will join that small club of Russian football players who left for the top championship. But were all these Arshavins, Golovins and Miranchuks really good at the start of their adult careers? Did they break the RPL like that, also arouse interest from outside, were they just close to leaving abroad?

Perhaps others will follow Arsen to Europe. After all, several Russians have recently been included in the list of the most talented young football players in the world.



5 young Russians in the list of the main talents of the world!  What is this rating and how did they get there
5 young Russians in the list of the main talents of the world! What is this rating and how did they get there

Golovin in CSKA: Slutsky’s guardianship, gradual adaptation and responsibility in the national team

Remember how Alexander appeared at the heart of CSKA? Leonid Slutsky slowly let the talented midfielder down: in the 2014/2015 season, Golovin played only 11 times for the first team. But in the RPL, the young genius received only 121 minutes (in seven games), while in the Russian Cup – 158 (3). Interestingly, already in the year of his debut in adult football, the midfielder appeared in a freight train with Belarus and even scored a goal in the first meeting for the Russian national team.

The first two years of Alexander Golovin's adult career

The first two years of Alexander Golovin’s adult career

It seems that Alexander should become the main one in the second season for CSKA, but no. And then Slutsky was cautious: only 23 meetings in all tournaments. It is significant that in the first two seasons for CSKA, Golovin participated in only 48% of the games for which he was included. This is the lowest – on a par with Miranchuk – indicator of trust of all in our study. But, despite this, the midfielder has become an important part of the Russian national team at Euro 2016 (two matches at the base and a substitution).

Bilic, Kuchuk and Bozovic had little confidence in Miranchuk. The first two seasons are sad

This is now Alexey – the author of the only winning goal of the Russian national team at Euro 2020 and one of the most discussed Russian football players abroad. And in his two debut seasons for Lokomotiv, Miranchuk received little time: in two years he entered the field only 15 times. The midfielder regularly got into the application, but almost always remained on the bench. Only at the end of the 2013/2014 season did the midfielder receive regular playing time.

The first two years of Alexey Miranchuk's adult career

The first two years of Alexey Miranchuk’s adult career

It turns out that Miranchuk, like Golovin, matured on the bench for two years, participated only in 48% of the games and prepared for the role of the main football player for a long time. But the third season (2014/2015) did not become a key one for Alexei – there were a little more than half of the meetings in the RPL, a few more in other tournaments. Before prime Miranchuk and goals against Juventus in the Champions League, there were still five years left.

Young Bilyaletdinov tore RPL: ​​his statistics are close to those of Zakharyan

Semin guessed as much as possible with Bilyaletdinov. Diniyar quickly appeared in the basis of Lokomotiv (2004) and remained an important player in the cage until leaving for Everton (2009). The confidence that the coach had in the young midfielder is striking: 58 matches in the first two years in adult football is strong. The player paid back with 13 goals and 12 assists, and at the same time he also made his debut for the Russian national team.

The first two years of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's adult career

The first two years of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s adult career

The resemblance of the young Bilyaletdinov to Zakharyan is also surprising. Approximately the same number of matches in two years, almost identical number of effective actions and a similar percentage of games played. True, Arsene got into the starting lineup two years earlier. But trophies speak for Diniyar: at 19, he already became the champion of Russia. Zakharyan has no titles at the same age yet.

Pavlyuchenko to Spartak: goals in the First League and a good impression for Rotor

That’s who started from the bottom. Pavlyuchenko did not have the opportunity to debut in the top division, like previous heroes. At the age of 17, Roman made his debut for his native Stavropol Dynamo, and a year later he moved to Rotor – and only then he appeared at HSE. Interestingly, both clubs unconditionally believed in the young kid: 50 matches in two years, 94% of meetings played, but only six goals and four assists.

The first two years of Roman Pavlyuchenko's adult career

The first two years of Roman Pavlyuchenko’s adult career

Modest results not only in the first season for Rotor, but also in the second (4 + 1 in 21 games) did not prevent Pavlyuchenko from attracting the attention of Spartak. Well, then you know: 15 goals in the debut season for CB, targetman status, bronze Euro and a transfer to Tottenham.

And Roman is one of the main jokers of Russian football. Here is a list of the top RPL scorers after coming on as a substitute.



The main jokers in the history of the RPL.  Who scored more than others after coming on as a substitute
The main jokers in the history of the RPL. Who scored more than others after coming on as a substitute

Arshavin did not start very brightly at Zenit, but still struck the country

It may seem that something is wrong here, but young Arshavin really did not immediately sparkle at Zenit. Andrei started out as an extreme midfielder, then he became a left forward or a drawn forward. Perhaps this is what affected the results in the first two seasons. Arshavin played a lot, made his debut for the first team in the Intertoto Cup, got into the list of 33 best players of the 2001 season and helped Zenit take bronze. But personal statistics are not amazing – only 4 + 9 in 43 games.

The first two years of Andrey Arshavin's adult career

The first two years of Andrey Arshavin’s adult career

It is interesting that Arshavin did not play for the Russian national team in the first two years of his adult career. But on the other hand, he formed an excellent bond with Alexander Kerzhakov, refused Spartak, after bronze he took silver with Zenit and began his journey from a capable and bright player to one of the most important football players in post-Soviet history.

Young Kerzhakov is a delight: he almost always played and went to the World Cup

Alexander made his debut in big football at the age of 18. But the first goal for Zenit had to wait a long time – Kerzhakov scored for the first time for the SBG only in the 13th match – but for Spartak! It must be said that in the two debut seasons, the forward almost always played (participated in 98% of the meetings) – Yuri Morozov, Boris Rappoport and only then Vlastimil Petrzhela actively trusted the young striker.

The first two years of Alexander Kerzhakov's adult career

The first two years of Alexander Kerzhakov’s adult career

Kerzhakov showed lethal numbers for a 19-year-old striker – in his first two seasons for Zenit, he scored 24 goals and made 10 assists in 62 meetings. This could not but impress Oleg Romantsev – and the coach of the Russian national team took Alexander to the 2002 World Cup, but there the forward spent only seven minutes with Belgium. As it turned out later, the fiery start at Zenit was not an accident, but a pattern – after all, Kerzhakov has been the top scorer in the history of Russian football since 2013 (233 goals).

Young Pogrebnyak did not impress Spartak – although he opened up in Baltika

Another pupil of Spartak, who opened up in another club. In his debut season (2001), Pavel played only two games for Muscovites, and the next he went on loan. Baltika gave Pogrebnyak the main thing – practice, in 40 matches he scored 15 goals. But upon returning to the capital, the forward almost immediately rented Khimki. That is, the young striker did not receive trust in his native club (Pogrebnyak, by the way, often later recalled this with a negative).

The first two years of Pavel Pogrebnyak's adult career

The first two years of Pavel Pogrebnyak’s adult career

Naturally, getting into the national team from the First League – or after a couple of matches for Spartak – is almost impossible (unless you are Kirill Panchenko). That is why Pogrebnyak’s statistics in the first two seasons in adult football are not the most outstanding. Although Pavel played almost always – in 95% of possible cases.

Pavel is one of the heroes of the UEFA Super Cup final victorious for Zenit. Do you know where the stars who beat Manchester United are now?



Zenit became the best in Europe 14 years ago.  Where are the heroes of the final against Manchester United now?
Zenit became the best in Europe 14 years ago. Where are the heroes of the final against Manchester United now?

An important nuance in the history of Zakharyan. She is unique in her own way.

And here’s the thing. Arsene interested Chelsea and found himself on the verge of a move under completely different circumstances. Arshavin, Pogrebnyak, Kerzhakov, Bilyaletdinov – they all moved to European clubs in the wake of the success of the Russian team at Euro 2008 or after the victory of Zenit in the UEFA Cup. Golovin had a great 2018 World Cup, and Miranchuk sparkled in the Champions League. Zakharyan is the only one on the list who got interested in Europe solely for the highlights of the Russian Championship. This speaks either of super-talent (the RPL was enough for his assessment) or of high expectations (what if he is not ready for the top league yet?).

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