Russian football prodigy dismisses nationality concerns
Dynamo Moscow playmaker Arsen Zakharyan, 19, has rubbished suggestions that he is considering switching his national allegiance to Armenia.
The highly-rated Zakharyan, who has won six caps for Russia, attracted speculation in the media that he's contemplating changing to Armenian nationality – where his parents were born – in order to help complete a high-profile transfer to Premier League giants Chelsea.
He had been close to a move to the London club last summer but it was called off due to difficulties related to the registration of players from Russia in the wake of sanctions imposed upon the country due to the military operation in Ukraine.
But Zakharyan says that despite the rumors he remains entirely committed to Valeri Karpin’s Russia side.
“As for the rumors about the change of citizenship, nothing will need to be changed,” Zakharyan told news agency RIA Novosti.
“I myself saw it on the Internet. It was just some kind of stuffing, I didn’t do anything. There are no such thoughts now.”
According to numerous reports, Chelsea have retained a strong interest in Zakharyan as new co-owner of the club, Todd Boehly, continues to oversee a large-scale rebuild of the struggling English side.
Results have suffered since Roman Abramovich’s sale of the club in May, with new boss Graham Potter under significant pressure to galvanize the injury-hit first team, and the former UEFA Champions League winners languishing in tenth position in the Premier League and already eliminated from both domestic cup competitions.
Arsen Zakharyan on Chelsea talks: “We are already solving this with the club, agents. What and how it'll be - I myself can not say. I don't know, I don’t have a plane in 2 hours”, tells @sportexpress 🔵 #CFC“I'm at Dynamo, getting ready for the season”. @AbsoluteChelseapic.twitter.com/nd6tcZSSjg— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 10, 2023
Zakharyan very much fits the bill, though, for the type of young, creative players they are looking to infuse into the squad – even if the player himself is getting somewhat tired of the speculation.
“The constant news about Chelsea is no longer pressing. I myself read the news on social networks every day. I’m already fine with this,” he said.
“If [football journalist] Fabrizio Romano wrote that Chelsea are still interested, then they are. Now I’m passing medical examination, preparing for the season. There is no such thing that I directly thought about it with all my head.
“I myself can’t say what and how it will be with Chelsea. The team jokes about Chelsea – it’s okay, but I’m tired of talking. I’ll go to the Internet, there someone speaks out on this topic. I’m tired.”
Dynamo Moscow are currently in fourth position in the Russian Premier League, some 13 points behind league leaders Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Domestic Russian fixtures are due to resume in early March.