Aleksandr Kokorin Andrei Panyukov

Kokorin Joins Anzhi: Dynamo's Options?

1:52 PMGoalChatter

Although there haven't been too many huge signings so far this summer in the Russian Premier League, Dynamo Moscow striker Aleksandr Kokorin's departure to Anzhi Makhachkala is more than enough to make up for the lack of excitement. The forward agreed to join the big spenders just five days after he tweeted a video of him and his teammates trying on Dynamo's soon-to-be-released new kit. He scored 10 goals in 22 games for the blue-and-whites last season, a seemingly decent statistic. A player of his caliber, however, can easily be scoring twice that amount.

Kokorin became the center of controversy last season when he complained about an injury despite being deemed fit by the team's medical staff. Several newspapers speculated the possibility of his faking the injury to remain fit for Fabio Capello's Russia squad, but after awhile it became apparent that he had had a slight affliction, which he successfully prolonged when he played after being told to take a rest. Perhaps a lesser-noticed but much more controversial gesture on Kokorin's part came during a match against Alania, when his reckless challenge led to a brawl on the pitch. Every video available shows Kokorin hitting not only the opposition's player Giorgi Chanturia, but his own teammate Balasz Dzsudzsak. It was a moment that would live in football infamy, even if the rest of the mass media refuses to take note.

Kokorin's transfer can be compared to that of Robin van Persie's last fall, minus the talent and departure to a historical rival. According to the club, he very openly stated his two main reasons for leaving: 1) he wants to realize his sporting ambitions (in other words, guarantee himself a spot in either the Champions or Europa League, as well as complimentary RPL silverware) and 2) better financial conditions (that certainly rings a bell!).

While some supporters continue to blame the club's management for being unable to hold on to the "good" players while bringing in mediocre talent, there is much to be said on the benefits of this transfer. When asked about whether Andriy Voronin and Fedor Smolov's returns will make up for not having Kokorin on the team, or whether the club will be looking for potential replacements in the transfer window, Dynamo Moscow President Gennadiy Solovyev said that supporters will see for themselves if the club makes any new acquisitions.

Whether or not the team needs a new forward is doubtful. There are many players who are more than capable of filling that position on the pitch, some of which have played on the team for awhile and others that are still sowing the seeds of potential growth in the First Team.

1) Kevin Kuranyi
One of Dynamo's most distinguished and respected players, the former German international has been with Dynamo for over three years and has on occasion captained the Moscovites. Kuranyi has been on the rise since Dan Petrescu's arrival as manager. He managed to get out of his Torres-like goalless streak and wow the fans once again with his trademark headers. His groin strain will keep him out of the game until the second or third fixture of the season, however.

2) Andriy Voronin
Another Dynamo veteran, forward/attacking midfielder Andriy Voronin recently proved that he was the missing link in Dynamo's formation. Having returned from his unsuccessful loan at the Bundesliga's Fortuna Dusseldorf, the former Ukraine international fit in perfectly in the team's pre-season friendlies, feeding vital passes as well as getting a goal and an assist. Conflicts with Fortuna's manager, a younger talent pool and a broken nose in training prevented him from playing for most of his loan. The upcoming season will see an opportunity for Voronin to prove himself after "the worst season" of his career and a long break from Premier League football.


3) Pavel Solomatin
20-year-old Pavel Solomatin spent most of last season with Dynamo's youth squad, scoring 11 goals in 17 games. He recently renewed his contract with the club. As a new member of the senior team, Solomatin will have a great deal of responsibility and expectations thrust at him from the start of the new season. With Kokorin out of the picture, many will look to Solomatin to net balls in.

4) Andrei Panyukov
Another Dynamo youth product, 18-year-old Andrei Panyukov scored 11 goals in 15 games last season. Ten of his appearances, however, were in the youth tournament. The striker has been growing up fast and playing more often for the senior team. Should the club acquire no new forwards, it is likely that Panyukov will get his share of playing time this upcoming season as well.

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