- Welcome back to CSKA Armiya, where today I will be looking back on the short pre-season we have had before previewing the season ahead.
Despite being Russian Champions, it was clear we weren't going to rest on our laurels this summer. With just the single big outgoing player, plus three first teamers joining the squad, we seem to be in a stronger place than we were at the end of last season.
On the outgoings, only two first team players left the squad with Chancel Mbemba and Victor Vasin bothe departing. Vasin, a player who had been with the club for ten years, left on a free transfer to Rostov, a side who has given us a few problems over the last couple of years. Vasin is now in his early thirties and was unlikely to really have any impact on the first team this season.
Chancel Mbemba was the big name that moved away from the squad, as he left for Austrian champions RedBull Salzburg. The Congolese center back leaves CSKA in a deal worth £17,750,000. The deal see’s a profit of £16,750,000 for the club having bought him in Luke Hendricks first season for just £1,000,000.
A number of youth players were also allowed to leave on cheaper deals, with none of them likely to ever push into this CSKA Moscow side.
In terms of incomings, three players have joined the club at this point, with all three likely to play a role in the first team. Roman Yevgenjev, joins as Chancel Mbemba’s replacement, whilst Felix Passlack and Zlatan Sehovic join to battle for the full back roles.
Yevgenjev, a dominant defender who stands 6”4 joins the club in the biggest deal Luke Hendricks has made in his career so far. A price of £9,000,000 rising to a potential £11,500,000 is seen as a good price for the twenty-two year old. Many expect big things from the newly acquired defender and it’ll be exciting to see him in action this coming season.
Also joining the club is Felix Passlack, who signed a pre-contract agreement with the club in January. Passlack leaves boyhood club Borussia Dortmund to join us and at just twenty-three, many believe he still has the potential he once showed. The right-back is unlikely to push Mário Fernandes out of his current starting role just yet, but with links constantly saying Fernandes is a key target for Valencia, Passlack may be an early replacement.
The latest signing we have made ahead of the first game of the season against Krylya Sovetov, is that of left-back, Zlatan Sehovic. The Serbian Under 21 International had an excellent season at FK Partizan last year and was available for a lowly £1,300,000. The deal could rise by another £1,000,000 in performance based clauses, in which time Sehovic is likely to have paid his worth back. Sheovic is again likely to provide competition for Luis Olivera who impressed at left-back last season, however, like Fernandes, Olivera is reportedly wanted by over twenty clubs, either on loan or in a permanent move. Sehovic could be looking at being the starting left-back for a number of years.
Pre-Season was a short one, with just a month separating our last game of the season to our first of pre-season and another two weeks before our SuperKubok game against Zenit St. Petersburg.
We kicked off the friendlies with a dominant 5-0 win over Saturn, a team two divisions below us. Volodymyr Shepelev, Ivan Oblyakov, Arnór Sigurðsson, Lucas Santos and Timur Zhamaletdinov picked up the goals, whilst Roman Yengenjev won man of the match in his first game at the club.
A 1-0 victory over Brøndby made the game look a lot tighter than it was, with Arnór Sigurðsson giving us the win. We had twenty-one shots in the game but were just unable to see the end product. It was clearly a pre-season game with players still getting back to their best. In positive news though, we held the Danish side to just two shots all game, showing our dominant performance.
The next game was another hard fought one where the scoreline didn’t match the performances of the two sides on the pitch. Matko Miljevic was sent off for a tackle just twenty-seven minutes into the game that resulted in a LASK penalty. The penalty was converted before we took control of the game. Magomed-Shapi Suleimanov, made it 1-1 and again we just couldn’t find the net having had twelve shots on target. The finishing was certainly lacking early on in the pre-season.
The final game of pre-season was a typical one since the arrival of Luke. Playing a local side, way down the pyramid, with a chance of scoring a high amount of goals to boost morale throughout the club. That happened again, with Yengenjev opening the scoring, Magomed-Shapi Suleimanov adding four, Chalov, Shepelev, Fernandes, Diveev, Shekhov and Sobolov all scoring. The end result being an 11-0 victory for the Russian champions.
In an extremely dull affair, we ran out winners of the SuperKubok Rossii final for a record eighth time. Once again we controlled proceedings, allowing just two attempts on target from Zenit, whilst we kept Mikhail Kerzhakov, in their net busy with seven of our own. However, after 120 minutes the sides couldn’t be separated so it went to penalties.
Alan Dzagoev, Alexandr Sobolev and Felix Passlack converted their penalties to ensure a 3-2 penalty win. Despite the game not being one of much excitement we still added another trophy to our collection and the team is beginning to get a real taste of success.
The bookies have us as the favourites to win the title once again this season, just ahead of Zenit St. Petersburg. Zenit, along with the other two teams just below us in the title odds, Spartak Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow, all have new managers coming in this season. It will be interesting to see how they change the sides who finished a long way off us last season.
Luke is going to need to keep his side focused to ensure they maintain last season's form as they now have a target on their backs. Surprisingly though, none of the three teams directly below us have made any additions so far in the transfer window.
We once again need to be aiming to winning the league and continuing on from last season's form. It is a sign of a great side when you can continue to win league titles over a number of years, that is what we want to be and something Luke has never shied away from, setting high expectations.
We will also be looking to improve in Europe this season and hopefully with a more favourable group compared to last season, we could be looking at a knockout stage game. However, the group we are drawn in will play a large role in if that is possible.
July sees us begin our season with a game against Krylya Sovetov tomorrow afternoon to kick off the season. We will follow that up with our first home game of the season against newly promoted team Baltika Kaliningrad before going away to another promoted side, Yenisey Krasnoyarsk. The month then gets tough with games against Lokomotiv Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg ending the month.
The season is set to be one of excitement, we look forward to seeing you all soon. For now goodbye.
Big loss for Inter as he scored twenty-three goals in the league last year. Ignoring the pun
Nothing from Inter heading into the first game of the season, it will be a big year for CSKA especially since they have a number of players linked with moves away and the retirement of Akinfeev at the end of the season. Interesting times.
Nothing yet from Inter, time will tell if Luke makes the move.
He moved for exactly £80million. A big move after scoring twenty-three league goals.
Would certainly be a rebuild for a team looking to go for the title, time will only tell if Luke makes the move and if so how he rebuilds the team.
Would certainly be a big move for Luke and potentially a change to how Italy does its business.
Would be entirely new territory for Luke for sure, only time will tell if that move comes off though.
It would be a potential career definer to bring Inter back to their great days, if Luke was able to do it.
A large dilemma for sure. Luke has so much to thank CSKA for as you mentioned but at the end of the day how much loyalty is left in football. If Luke was to have a bad season, would CSKA think twice about giving him the boot. I guess we will see what Luke does!