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Zenit break Russian transfer record to sign Portuguese star Danny

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(updated 18:25 28.10.2014)
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Zenit St. Petersburg have signed the Portuguese attacking midfielder Danny from Dynamo Moscow for some $44 million, the 2007 Russian champions announced on Monday on their website.
MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) - Zenit St. Petersburg have signed the Portuguese attacking midfielder Danny from Dynamo Moscow for some $44 million, the 2007 Russian champions announced on Monday on their website.

The fee is a new Russian transfer record. The previous record was the $23.5 million that Dynamo paid for another Portuguese player, Maniche, who moved to the club from FC Porto in May 2005. Zenit are financed by Russian energy giants Gazprom.

The 25-year-old Danny, real name Daniel Miguel, has played for Dynamo Moscow since 2005, but has shown arguably his best form this season, helping the Muscovite club to second in the league table. The Venezuelan-born player moved to Portugal when he was 15, and made his debut in the Portuguese national side last week during a 5-0 defeat of the Faroe Islands.

Danny, who has a Cyrillic D for Dynamo tattoo on his shoulder, made his last appearance for the club on Saturday during a 1-1 draw away to Spartak Moscow.

The player has yet to comment on his move. A statement on the Dynamo website said that "the transfer is for 30 million euros, the exact sum, stipulated in Danny's contract, that we are obliged to release him for."

The news was met with disappointment by Dynamo fans. "There goes our chance of a top three finish," said Dmitry, a long-time Dynamo fan.

The signing has increased speculation that Zenit may finally release Andrei Arshavin to English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. Zenit earlier said that the issue was closed as they would be unable to find a replacement for Arshavin before the transfer window closes on September 1.

"This story has lasted six weeks now and I won't deny it has had a negative impact on the team and our results," Advocaat said. "I hope in the next few days there will be clarity this way or that."

Zenit's Dutch trainer Dick Advocaat said on Monday however that Danny was not a replacement for Arshavin as the 27-year-old forward was "still with Zenit."

However, if Tottenham, as they look likely to do, sell their star Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov to Manchester United for some $50 million in the next few days, the London club, who have begun the season with two straight defeats, may feel that the purchase of Arshavin, one of the stars of Euro 2008, is necessary both to bolster their attack and appease their fans. Tottenham sold another top striker, Robbie Keane, to Liverpool for around $40 million in a close season deal.

Zenit, the UEFA Cup holders, face Champions League winners Manchester United in the annual Super Cup in Monaco on Friday. Danny, who joins up with the club on Tuesday, could make his debut against the Red Devils.

The Russian champions, struggling this season in the league, made a timely return to form as they defeated Volga area side Krilya Sovetov 3-0 away from home on Sunday. Zenit are now sixth in the league, 11 points behind league leaders Rubin.