- Chelsea were interested in Zakharyan
- Rejected Chelsea for Real Sociedad
- Happy to not join Blues
WHAT HAPPENED? Around a year ago, the Blues started to show interest in the Russian forward. They were prepared to exercise the release provision in the 20-year-old's Dynamo Moscow contract last summer when they were originally interested in him, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine hampered the arrangement. In an effort to close a deal for the forward, Todd Boehly put measures in place. According to rumours, Zakharyan would initially join Chelsea's sister club Strasbourg with the intention of eventually moving to Stamford Bridge. A deal, however, fell through, and the Russian international chose to join Real Sociedad in Spain instead, signing a six-year contract.
WHAT THEY SAID: Since moving to LaLiga, Zakharyan has acknowledged that he had discussions with Chelsea but that he wasn't really excited about relocating to West London. He said: “I realised that I was already a Real player when I signed. When I couldn’t fly for the first time, I didn’t understand anything. I thought I could fail. I didn’t understand anything about my future, I was in limbo. Fortunately, everything worked out. I was nervous, very nervous. For me it was more interesting to come to Real than to Chelsea. It was also a more realistic option. And here I am.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Zakharyan departs for the Basque region after a string of successful campaigns with Dynamo Moscow. Prior to his departure, he had made 89 appearances for the team in all competitions, with 25 assists and 19 goals. Before the international break, he played for his new club in two matches and two substitute appearances.
IN TWO PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? This next weekend, when Sociedad travels to the Santiago Bernabeu to play Real Madrid, Zakharyan will be hoping to feature..