It may not be the move that many expected for Leandro Paredes but Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg have finally confirmed the transfer of Roma’s classy Argentinian midfielder in a deal that could be worth €27 million.
Paredes was high on new manager Roberto Mancini’s list of targets and after weeks of speculation a deal has been agreed that has seen the 23-year-old sign a four-year deal with Zenit.
After undergoing a medical in Rome on Saturday, Zenit announced, “The Argentine player will move to the Saint Petersburg club for €23m fixed sum and, variable, up to a maximum of €4m for bonuses tied to the achievement of the Russian club and the player of certain sporting objectives.”
— FC Zenit in English (@fczenit_en) July 1, 2017
After moving to Rome from Boca Juniors in 2014 for a fee in the region of €6 million, Paredes developed into an important first team player under Luciano Spalletti after a invaluable loan spell with Empoli.
Finishing second to Juventus in Serie A and recently making his Argentina debut against Singapore, Paredes looked set for another big year in European football but will now be doing that in St. Petersburg, with the blue and whites eager to wrestle the league title back from Moscow clubs, CSKA and Spartaq, who have won the last two championships.
Paredes played 27 times in Serie A last season, fifteen as a starter, scoring three goals but it is his vision and passing ability from deep that set him aside from the vast majority of number fives.
After reportedly pondering over the switch to Russia, Paredes took to his Instagram account to thank the Roma supporters, writing: “I just want to salute and thank you for all the affection you have shown to me over the years. I will always carry you with me.”
Roberto Mancini may soon add Paredes’ compatriots Sebastián Driussi and Cristian Pavón in an Argentine influenced Zenit side and while regular football and further European football could be useful in their continued development, many will be concerned that Paredes is taking a backward step at an important time when Jorge Sampaoli is considering the youngster for Argentina.