Artem Dzyuba admitted in an interview with Sport24 (h/t Championat) that he could have joined Everton during the January transfer window but didn’t want to leave Zenit Saint-Petersburg as his side were chasing the Russian Premier League title.
The 31-year-old said: “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.
“Back then, we had a chance to win the Russian Superleague title, and we did so. So, I can say that I did the right thing. In the summer, I also hoped something would happen, but it didn’t. There were just talks, so I am now at Zenit and I am very pleased with that.”
After Romelu Lukaku left Everton for Manchester United in 2017, the Toffees were desperate for centre-forward with pace to outrun defenders, strength to hold up the ball and a ruthlessness in the final third – Lukaku scored 87 goals in 166 games and left big shoes to fill.
Dzyuba joined Zenit from Spartak Moscow in 2015 and has made 148 appearances in all competitions, scoring and creating 107 goals. The Russian international has struggled for consistency over the last two years, however.
He underperformed in 2017/18 (24 appearances, two goals) and was loaned out to Arsenal Tula in January 2018. The following season saw Dzyuba net nine goals in 37 games, so he hadn’t been the most prolific striker at the time Everton were showing an interest.
Marco Silva now has Moise Kean, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun in attack and should be content with his options.