— Hulk has been a target of the top clubs in Europe for several years, but only Zenit was able to sign him. How did you manage to make this transfer?
— First of all, it helped that Hulk himself wanted to continue his career in our club in particular. The negotiations with Porto were quite complicated, but we`re happy that in the end our Portuguese colleagues acted correctly, and took Hulk`s own interests into mind.
— Please tell us about the financial side of the contract, since various sources have named differing figures.
— Hulk`s transfer was made under advantageous conditions for Zenit. Our total payment of 40 million Euros will be distributed over three years, and there is no need to increase our budget currently. Furthermore, we`re going to make our payment from Zenit`s own income, including earnings in the Champions League, rather than from any funds of the group of gas companies.
It was a matter of principle for us to sign Hulk under the same conditions as we signed Danny in 2008. We bought Danny for 30 million Euros for a period of 4 years, and we signed Hulk for 40 million for a period of five years, so the sum per year is approximately the same. The personal contracts of the two players are also identical. The information about Hulk`s contract that several media outlets published recently is not true. It`s not out of the question that these false news reports were published in the interest of agents who can use them to cover their positions, and ask for artificially high sums, thereby explaining to managers of other Russian clubs why one or another player couldn`t be purchased.
— Along with Hulk, Zenit also bought the Belgian player Axel Witsel from Benfica. These negotiations weren`t so simple either. Can you say now that the club has fulfilled all of its goals for this transfer window?
— After two years of relative calm on the transfer market, we needed to really improve our squad now. Besides a striker and attacking midfielder, we also planned to buy another center-back, but in the end we were only able to make two transfers. We`re satisfied with the results of our summer campaign In general. Our task was to buy top-level players. Our tactic is that it`s better to have two world-class players than ten mediocre players. Hulk and Witsel are the kind of players we need to develop the club and get to the next level.
— Will the coming of Hulk and Witsel to Zenit make it easier in for the club to invite world-class players in the future? After all, it`s not a secret that even today some players are rather wary of playing in Russia, and our league isn`t considered one of the top leagues in Europe.
— I think they will. The experience we gained when acquiring Bruno Alves really helped us in our negotiations with Hulk. And the very fact that Bruno plays for us, and Bruno`s attitude towards our club, and to Russia, and the Russian Premier League, all had a positive influence on the results of our transfer campaign. People in Europe understand that Zenit is the leader of Russian football. We`re a serious club that does a lot to develop the world`s favorite sport in Russia, and to promote Russia`s image in the West. We`re the first club to bring players of this level to the Russian Premier League, who are in the prime of their life, and have come here not to finish their careers, but rather to keep growing and develop further. You have to understand that Zenit is one of only a few clubs in Russia that is seriously working at developing its own commercial activities. And getting players whose names are popular around the football world will help us to increase our club`s commercial potential.