His England national team contract with the Football Association ends when his team
crashes out of wins UEFA Euro 2012 next summer, but despite soon being a free agent and recently visiting the mighty nation of Russia, Fabio Capello has dismissed speculation that his next career destination will be Russian Premier League outfit FC Anzhi Makhachkala.
Capello’s son Pierfilippo, famously also his lawyer, responded to rumours that emerged this week as a result of his father’s visit to Moscow. It was, said Pierfilippo, simply a trip to the ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre, not a meeting with Anzhi owner Suleyman Kerimov.
Despite being out of contention for the Russian title, currently a race headed up by Zenit St Petersburg, Anzhi are quickly becoming a household name around the world. Kerimov isn’t exactly backwards in coming forwards with his cash, and he has enough of it to turn his club into a real force even in the hyper-affluent Russian top flight. He has employed a couple of caretaker managers to cover the vacant position in the dugout this season, and it is the identity of the first of those caretakers that offers an insight into the club’s direction. Before Andrei Gordeyev replaced him, Anzhi’s caretaker manager was one Roberto Carlos.
Anzhi are perhaps the epitome of the modern and ambitious Russian club. As well as Roberto Carlos, they also spent serious money (and continue to do so) on Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o, who undoubtedly still had plenty to offer in one of Europe’s top three or four leagues. His signing was a signal of intent from Kerimov, as was the capture of Yuri Zhirkov’s signature. The small corps of Brazilians also includes midfielder Jucilei, who signed for big money from Corinthians and could undoubtedly have secured a move elsewhere in Europe.
With the money in place and the squad quickly being assembled, Anzhi’s managerial vacancy is a hole desperately in need of filling, and in the long term there is little doubt that Kerimov will be looking to a proven and/or big-name coach to occupy the role. So when Capello headed east for a city break in Moscow, he will surely have expected speculation to begin.
While I don’t necessarily think there’s anything in this – as Capello Jr pointed out, he would have been there if this had been a professional engagement – it’s certainly not a far-fetched suggestion. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Kerimov’s thinking is focused on managers and coaches of Capello’s calibre, and it might even include the man himself. But for now, the family is saying there have been no discussions.