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Igor Korneev: “Zenit is still a priority for young players”

Igor Korneev, Zenit`s sporting director, told our “Our Zenit” newspaper that he`s waiting for players who belong to the Petersburg club but who played on loan to other teams in 2010 to come back to the club.

Igor Korneev, Zenit`s sporting director, told our “Our Zenit” newspaper that he`s waiting for players who belong to the Petersburg club but who played on loan to other teams in 2010 to come back to the club.

– How would you rate 2010 from the point of view of Zenit`s players who played on loan in other clubs?
– I don`t think it`s right to talk about that in general terms. Some of the players who were on loan made obvious steps forward, while other players were not able to improve, for a number of reasons. In other words, each case is individual.

– Then let`s talk about each case. For example, Sergey Kornilenko first went to play for Tom, but then ended up in Rubin Kazan...
– I think this season turned out to be one of the best in Sergey Kornilenko`s career. He continued to score goals, and I think he can be satisfied with the year. We in Zenit are happy for him too.

– Has his further fate already been decided?
– There are a number of interesting offers for Kornilenko from other clubs. We`re going to talk with the player himself and decide together what to do.

– How are thinks going for Michael Lumb in Feyenoord?
– Things are going worse for him, for a number of reasons. The thing is that one of his main competitors in the club is a starter for the Dutch national team. I talked about Lumb very recently with representatives from Feyenoord. In principle the team is satisfied with Lumb, and his work, but we need a more clear understanding of how much the Dutch club is counting on his services. In any case the situation should improve for Lumb, since there can be many changes in his career. In particular, he might change his club (and there are possibilities both for playing with Russian clubs and with foreign teams), but once again under loan rights.

– So things are apparently a lot more clear with Sebastian Puygrenier, another foreign player?
– He`s playing for Monaco, and the French season isn`t over yet, so it`s too early to say anything about Puygrenier.

– As for Russian players, how about Mikhail Kerzhakov, who debuted in the Premier League this year for Alania? What are his prospects?
– Kerzhakov is returning from being on loan, and will become a free agent. His contract with Zenit is expiring. I think Mikhail proved in a number of matches for Alania that he is capable of playing in the Russian Premier League. So I think the goalkeeper has a good future in the Russian Premier League.

– Will Zenit sign a new contract with Mikhail Kerzhakov?
– When aiming for this position in Zenit, any goalkeeper has to understand that the competition in the club is very strong, so he may have to wait to play. Honestly, we haven`t gotten a clear answer yet to out question of what the player`s own ideas are on that point. So we can say that we`re in the negotiation stage for now.

– Anton Sosnin, a player from Zenit`s youth team who was on loan to Krylya Sovetov this year, has already left for that club with a new contract. So his year on loan turned out to be good to Sosnin himself?
– Zenit`s policy is that talented young footballers should get the chance to play. All the more in the Premier League. But I want to remind you that in this case the conditions of the contract with Krylya Sovetov allow Zenit to buy the player back.

– Recently Anatoly Davyvod, head coach of Zenit`s youth team, stated that he isn`t rushing to decide which players will play in the CIS Cup, since the club needs to decide which of the players will remain in St. Petersburg and which ones will be sold or loaned out. Could you explain how things are going at present?
– There are many various possibilities here. For some players the negotiations are already being finalized. And in this case we`re talking about re-signing contracts with Zenit. Although other clubs are also very interested in players from our youth team, and there is contact between other clubs and our players. But it`s nice for us to know that Zenit is still top priority for our young players.