Spartak Moscow can only watch and envy the lavish transfer spending of their rivals Zenit St. Petersburg after the Russian champions bought Hulk and Axel Witsel for at least €80 million, Spartak owner Leonid Fedun said Wednesday.
Zenit said that the transfers for Porto striker Hulk and Benfica midfielder Witsel, were each for €40 million over three years, but Hulk’s transfer could be as worth as much as €62 million when bonuses and payments to third parties are factored in, according to reports in the Portuguese media.
“I can only envy,” Fedun said while touring the construction site for Spartak’s new stadium.
“This stadium costs as much as two Hulks.”
The sums involved were "unreal money", Spartak general director Valery Karpin said.
"You can't have expenditure like that for two players. It's practically the annual budget for any [Russian] Premier League team."
Despite having less firepower in the transfer market, Spartak were able to secure the signatures of Brazil midfielder Romulo, Sweden midfielder Kim Kallstrom and Argentinian defender Juan Manuel Isaurralde, as well as Schalke playmaker Jose Manuel Jurado on loan.
Spartak did not disclose the value of any of the transfers.
“Overall, all the targets we wanted to purchase, we purchased, and we purchased them effectively enough,” Fedun said, adding that the new players’ true value would only be seen in the team’s placings at the end of the season.
“The real valuation will be given in May of next year,” he said.
Kallstrom is out with a thigh injury but should return in time to debut in Spartak’s next match, away in the Russian Premier League to FC Kuban on September 15, as well as being fit to face Barcelona in the Champions League four days later, Fedun said.