Despite the concerns prior to it, the 2018 World Cup in Russia will without question go down as one of the most entertaining football competitions of all-time.
From England uniting a divided nation by making it to the semi-finals to Germany being eliminated from the group stages, the number of surprising narratives to unfold in Russia was staggering, with the host nation pulling off one of the best.
As well as progressing from a group consisting the likes of Uruguay and Egypt, Russia went one step further and eliminated the 2010 winners Spain on penalties, producing one of the shocks of the summer, and one of the heroes of that squad, Artem Dzyuba, has now confirmed that he turned down a move to Everton last January.
Speaking to Sport24 via The Liverpool Echo, the 31-year-old striker admitted: “I signed a contract with Jorge Mendes and his company. Back in the winter transfer window, there was a chance for me to leave Zenit. I understand Everton were interested in my services. But I didn’t want to leave.”
Although Dzyuba had a sensational 2018/19 season following his heroics for his nation during the World Cup as the Russian international hit 13 goals and 17 assists as numbers from Transfermarkt show, Everton should count themselves lucky that the Zenit attacker turned down a chance to move to the Premier League.
Whether or not Dzyuba would have been a success for Everton is up for discussion. However, what we do know is that if the Toffees did sign the attacker last January, it would have likely seen the club never attempt to go in for Juventus attacker Moise Kean.
The Italian international made the surprise switch to Marco Silva’s side this summer after impressing with the Serie A giants last season, yet had Everton signed Dzyuba last January, would the need to splash the reported £27.5m according to BBC Sport on Kean still be there? Logistics would say the answer would be no.
Dzyuba is no doubt hitting the peak years of his career in the Russian Premier League after a superb 2018/19 season, yet with Everton signing Kean, a striker who many predict to not only be Italy’s main striker for years to come, the 31-year-old has done the Toffees a service by rejecting the chance to make the move to England.