Richard van Poortvliet: Russia's monied power play

By Richard van Poortvliet

The strength of football leagues goes in cycles. In the 90s as a young child I remember looking in awe at the amounts Serie A clubs would spend on players and how the likes of AC Milan and Juventus could always attract the world's best talent. Since then the Italian league has been usurped by the English Premier League and La Liga in terms of spending power.

However, over the last decade, another market has entered the fray – Russia.

Although the purchases of Samuel Eto'o and Hulk may be grabbing the headlines now, the first transfers to 'open the eyes' of football clubs in Europe occurred back in 2005 and can be seen as a precedent to what is happening now.