Nicolás Miremont –
Sebastián Driussi has recently become the latest major Argentine export after Zenit Saint Petersburg triggered his release clause of €15 million. Born in Buenos Aires, the 21-year-old Driussi is already regarded by many as the next big star the country has managed to produce.
Over the course of the previous season in which River finished second, Driussi was their top goal scorer with 15 goals including two against eternal rivals Boca Juniors. However, despite having had an extensive and fruitful career as a youngster having won junior titles with his club, but also his country, which earned him the nickname the jewel, his reality has not always been close to stardom as it is today.
Only a year ago Driussi’s potential had already been evident, but his place with the Millonario was in doubt after not being able to fulfil the expectations that came with his talent. There were, therefore, rumours about a possible loan to a smaller club.
Sebastián Driussi Forced his Way Into River’s Squad
Then during River’s preseason in Orlando that same year, however, Driussi spoke to Marcelo Gallardo, who is River’s manager, and told him about his intentions to fight for his spot “and to be used as a forward” rather than as a winger like he had been asked to since joining the first team. The kid’s perseverance and fighting spirit earned him the manager’s trust and his wish of playing as a forward was granted. Together with Lucas Alario, he would end up forming one of the best partnerships of the season.
Ruthless in front of goal and with electric pace, this player is everything a team can ask for in a forward these days. Zenit fans will undoubtedly be pleased with their new signing: a versatile, quick, hard-working player who has already shown that he possesses a broad range of resources in front of goal. It is, therefore, no surprise that Roberto Mancini referred to the signing as being “very interesting.”
Since Zenit have signed Roberto Mancini, the club has also brought in the Argentine midfielder Leandro Paredes from AS Roma and are still considered in hot pursuit to land Kostas Manolas (also Roma). Driussi is already Zenit’s seventh transfer this season, and the club has already spent €44 million on new players.
Despite the limitless talent, there is also a potential dark cloud over the signing. A couple of weeks ago River were involved in a CONMEBOL doping scandal where two players had their doping tests come back positive and there were rumours about Driussi being involved as well. Although word on the street in Argentina has it that the positive tests were not drug related, it could explain why some clubs may have stepped away from a potential transfer.
Driussi Involved in a Doping Scandal?
Gallardo tried to hold on to the player making it clear that Driussi was not going anywhere because River was too big to leave for “a club like [Zenit]”. But as soon as the doping scandal came to light, a day after it to be precise, Gallardo stated in a press conference that Driussi had been sold because the offer was irresistible and that it would constitute a vast improvement in his career.
Hence, Driussi may be involved in the doping scandal after all. Whether this will affect Zenit, however, remains to be seen. Should Druissi be involved CONMEBOL doping practices differ from UEFA and a ban in South America may, or may not, end in the ban affecting Druissi’s ability to play for Zenit in Europe.
The recent example of Fred at Shakhtar Donetsk, who was tested positive for an illegal substance during the 2015 Copa Améria in Chile. Fred was allowed to play in UEFA competition until February 2016 before FIFA banned Fred for all competitive fixtures around the world. Fred was then banned a second time this spring.
The doping rumours aside Driussi seems to be a magnificent capture for Zenit. The 21-year-old striker has been linked with a move to various big European clubs, and it is remarkable that Zenit have been able to beat the competition to his signature. In fact, the transfer is another suitable example of the return of Zenit’s aggressive transfer policy in pursuit of competitive returning to the top of the table in Russia and to finally win a second European title.
Nicolás Miremont is a born and raised Boca Juniors fan, but his heart has a special place for Manchester United, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Dynamo Kiev. Miremont loves to support the underdogs. Miremont enjoys watching smaller competitions especially those from Eastern Europe, but also his native Argentina. Follow him on Twitter @Miremont_Nico