Why sud­den­ly?

Sergei Pinyaev has almost dis­ap­peared from the radar late­ly, dis­ap­pear­ing into the ordi­nar­i­ness of the cham­pi­onship. The once “best” foot­ball play­er in Rus­sia, after a short burst, is now busy with unpleas­ant, but nec­es­sary — rou­tine work and jus­ti­fy­ing the expec­ta­tions placed on him. The process is slow, but there is no escape from it. It is all the more sur­pris­ing that against this back­ground rumors appeared about the trans­fer of the 19-year-old Loko strik­er to Euro­pean clubs. How true are they?

Where did the rumors come from?

The fact that Pinyaev was inter­est­ed in Europe was report­ed on April 19 by the Eng­lish pub­li­ca­tion HITC. Not the most famous or author­i­ta­tive media out­let, but the author of the arti­cle, Dan Owen, is a great expert on Man­ches­ter Unit­ed and, appar­ent­ly, has some kind of con­nec­tion with the club. He calls him­self a “trans­fer expert.”

What did Owen write about Pinyaev? The char­ac­ter­i­za­tion is spare but com­pli­men­ta­ry: “Years after the teenag­er scored a stun­ning five goals in a friend­ly against Bari dur­ing a tri­al game at the Man­ches­ter Unit­ed acad­e­my, inter­est in him from the biggest clubs in Eng­lish foot­ball con­tin­ues unabat­ed.”

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The jour­nal­ist described options for the devel­op­ment of events. Owen believes that if the British gov­ern­ment pro­hibits the pur­chase of a Russ­ian play­er due to the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, then the solu­tion for Eng­lish teams may be “twin clubs”, where Pinyaev will be sent on loan. But so far only City (Girona) and Man­ches­ter Unit­ed (Nice) have such, and Chelsea, Liv­er­pool and New­cas­tle, accord­ing to the author, will acquire “off­shore” teams in the sum­mer.

In addi­tion, in the arti­cle Pinyaev is called “sim­i­lar to Ronal­do” — but only from the words of Andrei Arshavin: “I have said many times that Pinyaev has qual­i­ties. But the main thing is his speed. He flies like a rock­et. He under­stands when to pass the ball. For me, Sergei is Cris­tiano Ronal­do. The way he plays, his style — he looks like a Por­tuguese.”

The arti­cle ends on an opti­mistic note: Man­ches­ter Unit­ed were unable to sign Pinyaev sev­er­al years ago because they were unable to obtain a work per­mit. How­ev­er, these days, the­o­ret­i­cal­ly, this is not a prob­lem.”

Pho­to by Fyo­dor Uspen­sky, “SE”

Why exactly Pinyaev?

Why is the Eng­lish press sud­den­ly writ­ing about Pinyaev? Every­thing is sim­ple here — Sergei is per­haps one of the few Russ­ian foot­ball play­ers who remain on the radar of inter­na­tion­al foot­ball.

Here it is appro­pri­ate to recall the Russian’s three intern­ships at Man­ches­ter Unit­ed — Pinyaev worked with the “dev­ils” when he was 14 years old. He respond­ed like this: “In prin­ci­ple, they are all very friend­ly. Pog­ba comes up dur­ing train­ing and pats him on the shoul­der. A nice per­son, indeed. Sol­sk­jaer teased, say­ing: “In two years you will be play­ing in Lingard’s place.” If they call, of course, I will come again.

On my last vis­it to Man­ches­ter I scored five goals. It’s actu­al­ly not dif­fi­cult. I scored five goals and my legs were cramp­ing. Because before that I had train­ing, test­ing in the gym, and only then the game. They try to put as much pres­sure on me as pos­si­ble to under­stand my real lev­el.”

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Sol­sk­jaer made a slight mis­take — two years lat­er Pinyaev was just begin­ning to get used to adult foot­ball. But he broke sev­er­al records along the way — for exam­ple, Sergei became the youngest debu­tant of the Russ­ian nation­al team, as well as the scor­er of a goal in its com­po­si­tion. The youngest scor­er of a dou­ble in the Cup is also Pinyaev.

This year, Sergei was includ­ed in the list of nom­i­nees for the pres­ti­gious Gold­en Boy award — the best play­er under 21. True, Pinyaev’s place is not very high (78). He is not the only Russ­ian in the rank­ing — there is also Niki­ta Saltykov, who is ranked 68th. Arsen Zakharyan was includ­ed in a sim­i­lar list last year — and even though he didn’t make it to the final vote, his career devel­oped.

Pho­to by Daria Isae­va, “SE”

Can the transition take place?

Trans­fer­markt val­ues ​​Pinyaev at 8 mil­lion euros. But the sports direc­tor of the rail­way work­ers, Dmit­ry Ulyanov, named a dif­fer­ent price in 2023, answer­ing a ques­tion about Zenit’s inter­est: “We have not received any offers. In order for a pro­pos­al to be con­sid­ered, a super sum must be offered that we can­not refuse — 30 mil­lion euros.”

It is note­wor­thy that the British, in par­tic­u­lar Dan Owen, accept­ed this amount, which was hard­ly men­tioned seri­ous­ly, as the truth. In sev­er­al of his works, the jour­nal­ist men­tions that “you will have to pay 25 mil­lion pounds for Garnacho’s com­peti­tor.”

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But it is unlike­ly that infor­ma­tion about inter­est in Pinyaev should be con­sid­ered in detail. And Man­ches­ter City, named almost the main con­tender, quick­ly denied the rumors.

But we shouldn’t com­plete­ly deny Pinyaev a Euro­pean future either. Here it is appro­pri­ate to recall the trans­fer of Arsen Zakharyan and the rumors about Barcelona and Chelsea. Yes, he left for a sim­pler club, but Real Sociedad is a huge step in his career. As for Pinyaev, Owen men­tions not only the Eng­lish giants — he also talks about the inter­est of Borus­sia, Bay­er, Vil­lar­real and Napoli. But what if?