Top winter transfers Spartak, Zenit, CSKA and Lokomotiv. Does it really help to spend more?

In this list is also “Dynamo” with “Krasnodar”.

In the winter of 2022, the RPL peaks are very active. Spartak and Krasnodar have already left 13 million euros in the transfer market and Lokomotiv – 8 million. At the same time, at least one more purchase should be expected from each of these clubs. CSKA will also sign at least three players and Dinamo took on the key Russian national team striker. So far, perhaps Zenit is out of the picture: the St. Petersburg club reportedly wants to get at least five newcomers out of season this summer.

Should the leaders of our league spend so much money in January, if in June-August the market is traditionally more favorable for transfers? What short-term effect will the injection have on the team of players during the tournament? To find the answers to these questions, let’s remember the most expensive winter windows from the top RPL clubs in the last 10 years. Since 2012, when football Russia switched to the autumn-spring system, the winter window has become less important than the summer. Since then the teams were not completed in January, only understaffed.


Zenit’s legendary winter transfer window is from January 2019. Sergei Semak started working with the team in the summer of 2018, but then the club did not buy anyone for a new coach. St. Petersburg won the first part of the season, one point ahead of Krasnodar, but everyone understood that the blue and whites had to strengthen the team. And in the winter, Zenit spent € 37 million on Wilmar Barrios (€ 15 million), Serdar Azmun (€ 12 million) and Yaroslav Rakitskiy (€ 10 million). Each of the three newcomers became a key figure in his line. Semak’s team flew into the league and finished first with an eight-point lead.


During the 2012/2013 season, Spartak trembled and in November, after a 1: 5 defeat by Dinamo, Unai Emery was replaced as head coach by Valerie Carpin. The team finished the first part of the championship in sixth place. In the winter, under Karpin, players were bought for 16.4 million euros – came Yura Movsisyan (7.5 million), Salvatore Bocchetti (4.5 million), Majid Waris (2.9 million) and Ognen Vukoevich (rent for 1.5 million). As a result, the red and whites reached the European tournament: they took fourth place, just two points behind the top 3. It is true that not all of these four newcomers responded.


CSKA never spent large sums in the winter, in the middle of the season. The only exception was January 2013, when CSKA returned Wagner Love from Flamengo for 6 million euros. In the same window, the Moscow club paid 200 thousand for the young midfielder Dmitry Efremov. After the first part of the championship, Leonid Slutsky’s team was two points ahead of Angie and five points ahead of Zenit. The return of the Brazilian striker helped to reach the gold: Wagner Love scored five goals in nine games. CSKA became first, ahead of Zenit by two points.


The 2011/2012 transition season began under the leadership of Yuri Krasnozan, who was fired in June amid rumors of participation in the “agreement”. The team was led by the Portuguese Jose Cusseiro. Loko finished fifth in the first part of the championship (30 rounds) and was left out for the winter break, two points behind the European Cup zone. In January, a group of newcomers signed: Roman Pavlyuchenko, Andrey Yeshchenko, Maxim Grigoriev and Yan Tigorev. Loko then, according to Transfermarkt, spent at least 9 million euros. However, the Railways lost the second half of the season, taking only seventh place at the end.


Dinamo’s winter record is also from January 2012. The Blue and Whites started the transition season with Miodrag Bozovic, but were replaced by Sergei Silkin in April. Reforming as a coach had a dramatic effect: Dynamo played well and won. He finished the first part of the championship in third place, and left for the winter break, just one point behind CSKA. We spent 27 million euros in the January window. Balazs Dzhudzhak (19 million) was bought by Anji and Christian Noboa (8 million) by Rubin, in addition, goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky was released. However, in the spring, the blue and whites surrendered – they finished just fourth, having lost the match for the Champions League.


In the 2013/2014 season, Oleg Kononov became the new coach of the Bulls. Krasnodar finished the first part of the championship in sixth place – one point behind CSKA and the European Cup zone. Sergei Galitsky decided to strengthen the team in the winter and left at least 9.25 million euros on the market. Then Pavel Mamaev appeared at the club (the most expensive of the newcomers – 5 million), Ragnar Sigurdsson, Alexey Pomerko and Roman Shirokov, who were hired by Zenit. In the spring, Krasnodar played memorable games, including beating Spartak 4-0. Kononov’s team managed to get stuck in the top five – for the first time in its history, the “bulls” entered Europe.

As you can see, in most cases, the strong spending on the winter window was justified. The result, however, depends more on the work of the coach than on the number of newcomers.

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