Ronaldo clone wanted by Chelsea as CONTROVERSIAL deal mooted

Peter Staunton
  • Updated: 20 Apr 2024 13:02 BST
  • 6 min read
Sergey Pinyaev Lokomotiv Moscow Russia

Sergey Pinyaev, likened to Cristiano Ronaldo by former Arsenal star Andrey Arshavin, could be on the move to a top Premier League team imminently - or at least one of their sister clubs.

The diminutive left-winger is a star player for Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian Premier League but, owing to conflict in Ukraine, any transfer involving an RPL player is likely to be blocked by the UK Government.

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That means interested parties may well opt to send the 19-year-old left-winger to one of their satellite clubs if they acquire his services, meaning certain teams have the advantage in the race for his signature.

Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are among the teams in the race for the €30 million-rated attacker, according to HITC, while the player had a trial with Manchester United when he was 15 back in 2019.

READ MORE: Not just Sancho: Another Man Utd star banned from dressing room

The Red Devils are also known to have been keeping track of his progress ever since.

They were prevented from adding him to the ranks back then as he did not qualify for a work permit.

UK Govt likely to block Russian business

City’s ownership group, CFG, operates clubs all over the world and could send Pinyaev to Girona in LaLiga if they do end up signing him.

Other options for Pinyaev could include Troyes in the French Ligue 2.

Chelsea, meanwhile, under their owners BlueCo 22, run Strasbourg in Ligue 1 and have sent a number of players to Patrick Vieira’s side to develop since the link-up was announced.

It is also reckoned that Blues owner Todd Boehly is assessing other clubs around Europe to bring into the fold.

Manchester United have got Sir Jim Ratcliffe in as a 27.7 percent part-owner these days and his INEOS operation also runs clubs in France - in the shape of OGC Nice - and Switzerland in Lausanne.

Meanwhile, Liverpool with FSG’s new CEO of Football, Michael Edwards, on board are actively exploring adding more clubs to their stable. Links with Toulouse have been refuted but the signing of Benfica technical director Pedro Marques - once of CFG - is a step towards implementing a multi-club ownership model.

Pinyaev also has admirers in Serie A with Napoli as well as LaLiga in the shape of Villarreal. Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund of the Bundesliga are also thought to be keen.

'Rocket' Pinyaev compared to Ronaldo

Pinyaev has scored three goals and added five assists in the Russian Premier League for Lokomotiv this season across 22 matches.

He is Russia’s youngest-ever player and youngest-ever goalscorer, having debuted against Tajikistan in November 2022 aged 18 and scored against Iraq in March 2023.

Russia has been banned by UEFA and FIFA since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the country currently only plays friendlies against nations friendly towards it.

Arshavin, a UEFA Cup winner with Zenit in 2008, describes Pinyaev as “a rocket” who has many similarities to a certain Portuguese Ballon d’Or winner.

“I have said many times that he has qualities,” Arshavin told Such Football on YouTube. “The main thing is still his speed. He flies like a rocket.

“He understands when it is necessary to pass the ball. For me, Sergey is Cristiano Ronaldo. The way he plays, his style, he looks like the Portuguese.”

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