If, over the past ten days or so, you caught yourself thinking Why on earth would Kostas Manolas accept a move to Zenit?, well, consider your questions well founded. No disrespect intended to the Russian club, but it’s not exactly prime footballing real estate, inflated petroleum salaries notwithstanding, so it struck many as odd that Manolas would make such a move just as he’s entering the prime of his career.
It’s one thing for Leandro Paredes to make a temporary move to Zenit before Juventus buys him next summer for, oh, let’s say €28 million—he has several years to go before he hits his peak—but why would Manolas move to football purgatory when his star is just about to burn its brightest?
Well, it seems as though Kostas is having these thoughts as well. While it was widely speculated that Zenit would close the deal for both Manolas and Paredes at some point this week, Manolas’ last minute change of heart seems to have pumped the brakes on this move.
If you believe the papers, Manolas’ hesitation is fueled by two issues. First, he wants his wages to be paid in Euros rather than Roubles, and second, and perhaps more pressing, Chelsea has entered the fray in a last minute attempt to hijack the €35 million rated defender. Given his balls-to-the-wall style of play, the end-to-end frenetic pace of play in the Premiership would seem more suited to his success.
All of which has lead to a tête–à–tête between Manolas and Zenit, which may even be taking place as we speak. However, the latest reports indicate that Manolas will sleep on it, presumably providing an answer/waiting for Chelsea to lodge an official bid tomorrow.
Now, if Manolas does indeed move to Chelsea, would it be right to speculate about Paredes’ future as well? Zenit have reportedly agreed to a €20 million deal for his services as well, but was it a package deal? Would Zenit attempt to lowball Roma for Paredes if Manolas chooses the greener pastures of Chelsea?
At this point, having Monchi has your team’s DS is like going into the jungle: You never know what to expect and you’re always scared.