Zenit line up €10m Granqvist but may have to sell star

The Champions League last-16 side are keen to sign a central defender in January, but first they must sell one of their non-Russian defenders

GOALEXCLUSIVE  

Zenit St. Petersburg are lining up a €10 million January bid for Sweden defender Andreas Granqvist, Goal can reveal. 

The Champions League last-16 qualifiers are in the market for a centre-back when the January transfer window opens and coach Andre Villas-Boas is a big fan of the Krasnodar stopper.

Despite their superb form in the Champions League, Zenit have had a disappointing first half to their domestic season and find themselves in sixth position – seven points behind league leaders CSKA Moscow.

Villas-Boas hopes the former Wigan and Genoa defender can shore up a shaky defence that has conceded 23 goals in 18 matches this season.

The Russians are prepared to invest up to €10m for the ex-Helsinborgs and Groningen defender, who measures up at 6ft 3in.

However, Goal understands that before any transfer can materialise, Zenit will first have to offload one of their non-Russian players. Russian Premier League rules state that teams can only field six foreigners on the pitch.  

One of Italian Domenico Criscito, Portuguese Luis Neto or Argentine Ezequiel Garay could be sacrificed to make way for Granqvist, who has developed into one of the best defenders in Russia since arriving at Krasnodar in 2013, making 65 appearances and scoring twice. 

The 30-year-old’s contract with Krasnodar expires in 2018. He has been capped 48 times by his country.

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