Yuri Zhirkov has been a complicated mess of a player since he signed in the summer of 2008, as word would have it, under Hiddink’s recommendation. He cost the club eighteen million of our owner’s finest, three more than Arsenal paid for Andrei Arshavin. Let’s face it, Russians and London don’t mix.

You’d pretty hard pressed to win an argument that Zhirkov wants to stay at Chelsea, especially after quotes like these:

Sometimes our doctors just don’t understand. I trained fully, but they argue that ‘Zhirkov is injured and not ready to play in matches’. Where’s the logic? If I’m not limping anymore and can withstand training, then why shouldn’t I get through games? Frankly, it hurts me even to talk about it and I don’t want to discuss it.

From the sounds of it he’s not too impressed with the way he’s been handled since joining the club. Considering he’s the like-for-like replacement for Malouda, I’d imagine he’s pretty annoyed given his lack of game time verus the Frenchman’s disparaging form. He also gets played considerably out of position when he does, as he’s not really in the Lampard mould that he played on occasions, nor he is truly comfortable supporting a player like Didier Drogba. As we saw at Euro 2008, he’s more of a direct influence running at goal rather than away, which Malouda is a big fan of.

But the fact remains there is a case for the Russian to remain at the club. He adds options as a reflection of versatility, including a handy back-up for left back if Ashley Cole is ever injured (hardly unlikely), plus adds an extra element of play to a one-dimensional Chelsea team. He also has an impressive goals to game ratio and a good track record with likely future manager Guus Hiddink.

Zhirkov’s regarded as a highly adaptable player with a multitude of skills that the whole world got to terms with during his highly exciting spells with the national Russian team in their run to the Euro semis under…Guus Hiddink. Recognised for his pacy movement and dribbling ability, it didn’t take long for potential suitors to line up. He was the biggest name signing of Ancelotti’s first transfer window but it remains to be said whether it was Ancelotti’s or Hiddink’s man, especially with Hiddink’s
call that he sometimes advises Abramovich on team affairs.

Zhirkov’s never directly played under Hiddink in the Chelsea blue but there’s obviously a keen relationship there. Given that Barry McGowan has all but confirmed that Hiddink will leave Turkey and join Chelsea (just waiting for the club’s call now), the transfers and upheaveal will begin. Many are tipping for Yuri to leave stage right, but don’t be too surprised if the Russian stays on for a while longer. The Dutchman managerial *genius* may look to hold onto his man, as a preacher of
universality amongst his players Zhirkov seems to fit the bill.

What do you think? Should Yuri Zhirkov stay on at Chelsea? Discuss with me on Twitter at the @cfcreport or join nineteen thousand fans in the forums.