Saturday, 8th September, 2012
Manchester United winger Nani priced himself out of a switch to Zenit St. Petersburg this summer, the Russian club’s CEO has claimed.
Zenit shocked the football world earlier this week by snapping up Hulk from FC Porto and Axel Witsel from Benfica, splurging around €80M to sign the in-demand pair.
But the Russian champions had even bigger ambitions, with Portuguese duo Nani and Joao Moutinho also on coach Luciano Spalletti’s wanted list.
No deal could be closed for the Manchester United winger and FC Porto midfielder though, even if it was not for the lack of trying.
And in Nani’s case, it was salary expectations that scuppered a potential deal.
"We really were negotiating with Nani and Joao Moutinho, but Hulk and Witsel were our priorities. And it is important to understand that any transfer policy is based on a list of priorities", said Zenit CEO Maxim Mitrofanov.
"If Hulk had asked for €8M to €10M, these demands would have been unacceptable for Zenit", added the Russian, insisting that the Brazilian striker was realistic in his personal terms.
"The signing of Nani was ruled out mainly for this reason, because he asked for a huge salary that we were not willing to pay."
Despite missing out on Nani and Moutinho, the Russian champions are sure to be pleased with their transfer activity, snaring arguably the two most in-demand players in Portuguese football in Hulk and Witsel.