Alan Dzagoev 21 Midfielder CSKA Moscow
A hard working, technically gifted young player with a range of passes and an eye for goal, Alan Dzagoev has everything to suggest he will become the complete midfielder.
Despite interest from abroad, the young Russian has remained with CSKA - something that we certainly wouldn’t have expected to say three years ago when Dzagoev first burst onto the scene.
We tend to think that young players are best served spending as long as possible at the club that they made their debut, and Dzagoev’s retention at CSKA amid a flurry of interest from Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United looked a smart move.
While Dzagoev has continued to improve steadily during his apprenticeship at CSKA, we hadn’t witnessed the huge strides we’d expected since he emerged as what looked like a world beating 18 year old.
The Russian Premier League is a relatively strong division and regular football is always preferential to sitting on the substitute’s bench at Stamford Bridge, long cast as the most likely destination for the midfielder. However we did worry that a degree of stagnation was starting to kick in for Dzagoev. Should he have moved on by now? Our fears were allayed after catching a series of improved performances recently.
Some of the interviews we’ve seen featuring Dzagoev highlight an honest young man, and if anything comes across when listening to him speak, it’s a sense of humility. This is a player that perhaps takes defeat a little too personally, no bad thing, but it may give some indication why the levelling off we hinted at occurred over the last couple of years. Dzagoev is carrying a huge weight of expectation after all.
Back on track, playing well, scoring goals and providing assists for club and country. If this boy from Beslan goes on to become one of the most influential players in Europe, don’t be at all surprised.
"Seems to have been around for years but remains one of Russia's brightest lights. Disagreements with his coach aside, he is maturing nicely." - Domm Norris (Slavic Football Union)
C+ You are better than this league. Prove it.