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    Zenit's Advocaat may sign new contract this week

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    Zenit St. Petersburg trainer Dick Advocaat could sign a new contract with the Russian champions on Wednesday or Thursday, according to a top club official quoted by the Smena news website.

    MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - Zenit St. Petersburg trainer Dick Advocaat could sign a new contract with the Russian champions on Wednesday or Thursday, according to a top club official quoted by the Smena news website.

    "I have almost no doubt that Dick will continue to manage Zenit," said Konstantin Sarsanniya. "The extension of his contract will be announced on Wednesday or Thursday."

    Dutch trainer Advocaat took over Zenit, then a spectacularly unsuccessful mid-table side, in the summer of July 2006. The following season he led the club to their first league title since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

    Vlastimil Petrzhela, the club's former Czech manager, earlier said that "Zenit will never be allowed to become champions, because everything in Russian soccer is geared towards the Moscow teams."

    However, backed by state energy giant Gazprom, Advocaat has built a team that has broken the traditional domination, both sporting and financial, of the Moscow giants. Zenit added the UEFA Cup to their trophy cabinet this May, and are currently Russia's only representatives in the prestigious Champions League.

    Zenit stars Andrei Arshavin, Pavel Pogrebnyak, and Anatoliy Tymoschuk have all been linked with moves to European clubs in recent months, and Advocaat said last week that he would stay in St. Petersburg for one more season if the side's stars also remained at the club.

    "I'm not sure that was a demand. Advocaat would undoubtedly like to keep the side's top players, but his decision to sign an extension to his contract doesn't depend on this," said Sarsanniya.

    The trainer, who along with compatriot and national team coach Guus Hiddink has done much to turn around the fortunes of Russian soccer, is believed to currently earn around $4.5 million a year.

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