CSKA Moscow midfielder Aleksandr Golovin has catapulted himself onto the main stage by revelling in the heart of Russia’s midfield at the 2018 World Cup.
The 22-year-old is set for an extremely promising future and his recent performances have attracted the likes of Arsenal, FC Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester United. He scored the fifth goal and made two assists in the 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia on the opening day of the tournament and performed majestically once again in Russia’s comfortable 3-1 victory over Egypt.
His journey to becoming a professional footballer started when he joined hometown club DYuSSh Kaltan at 5 years of age in 2001. He practiced and honed his technical and mental skills by regularly playing futsal during his childhood and this broadened his imaginative and creative ability on the football pitch.
In 2009, Golovin concluded his eight-year spell with Kaltan and moved 50km north to amateur club Metallurg Novokuznetsk. It was in Novokuznetsk that he was scouted by CSKA Moscow, who pounced to secure his services in 2013.
It was a revolutionary year in the career of Golovin as he won the 2013 Under-17 European Championship and scored during the 2013 Under-17 FIFA World Cup. He further enhanced his growing reputation by helping the Under-19 Russian National Team to runners-up spot at the 2015 Under-19 European Championship.
This was the year that Golovin would announce himself on the main stage and he flourished in the spotlight. In March 2015, Golovin made his senior debut for CSKA Moscow in a Russian Football Premier League fixture against FC Mordovia Saransk and later scored on his international debut in a 4-2 win against Belarus.
Golovin featured more regularly during the 2015/16 season and scored three goals in 23 appearances to help guide CSKA Moscow to the Russian Football Premier League title. He’s also become an essential figure for the Russian National Team and has already amassed 21 caps and three goals over the past four years.
Will Aleksandr Golovin Fulfil His Potential?
I’ve been very excited and intrigued watching this young man enjoying and playing his football at the 2018 World Cup. He plays with freedom but also reads the game very intelligently which is key to creating dangerous opportunities for Russia in the final third.
We’ve seen many players perform strongly at World Cup tournaments and fail miserably once they move to a more prestigious club. Karel Poborsky surged to fame for Czech Republic during Euro 1996 with his audacious lob against Portugal in the quarter-finals but he failed to translate that scintillating form at Manchester United.
Russia struggled to create many productive opportunities during their dismal 3-0 defeat to Uruguay yesterday. This epitomizes the quality that Golovin provides to the team and his importance to them and I believe he’ll succeed if he’s to make a move to the Premier League, Serie A or La Liga.
It’s still premature to make the statement that Golovin will become one of the very best midfielders in the world but he’s made a colossal impression during this summer. He has significant strengths to his game, including his creative nature combined with his technical quality and he compensates for his lack of strength and physicality with his in-game intelligence.
Where Does His Future Lie?
There has been contrasting reports in the press regarding the future of Golovin but it’s clear that he’s likely to move away from his homeland in Russia to pursue a career in one of the more prestigious European leagues.
Juventus has emerged as one of the favourites to secure his services, according to reports from The Guardian, Goal and Daily Express. The Serie A club are allegedly set to offer Golovin a yearly salary of £2.6 million per year and the transfer fee is believed to be in the region of £22 million, although this is still strictly speculation.
Manchester United, FC Barcelona, Chelsea and Arsenal are also among the other clubs who’ve been linked with Golovin over the past two weeks. He’d find it incredibly difficult to break into the starting line-up at Chelsea and FC Barcelona and Manchester United has recently signed Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Therefore, Arsenal would be the most sensible option for him if he’s to opt for a move to England, as they’re crying out for another creative player to partner Mezut Ozil and Unai Emery’s passing system could suit his style of play.
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