Brazilian star Hulk has been accused of ruining his chances of a move to Manchester United, Chelsea or Tottenham by signing a mega-new deal with Zenit Saint Petersburg, according to former Russian star Alexander Panov.
The striker has decided to extend his stay in obscurity by agreeing a new bumper package that sees him remain with the Russian club until 2019.
Hulk, 28, has been the subject of interest from a number of Premier League and top European clubs over recent seasons.
But Panov says the fact he can earn significantly more at Zenit than he can even in England, combined with the fact he is regarded as the best and biggest name player in the Russian league, means he was more than happy to stay at the club.
“The news that Zenit have reached a new agreement with Hulk until the middle of 2019 has caused me mixed feelings,” he told Izvestia, as reported by The Express.
“On the one hand, I feel sorry for the Brazilian from a professional point of view. Naturally, Hulk likes it here in Russia because he earns much more than he would ever be offered by another European club.
“In addition, he is the chief of the village – so to speak – in our league. He is the best player not only at Zenit, but also in the entire Russian league.
“He knows this much himself, and in Europe he would be nothing. Because of the time spent in the Russian championship he has essentially lost form.
“We all saw Hulk play for the Brazilian national team at the World Cup in 2014 – but now his game leaves much to be desired, to the extent that he is even annoying his own fans.
“I think that will only get worse now. In Russia, Hulk is not progressing but rather becoming degraded.”
The evidence with Hulk is clearly overwhelming; he is a modern day mercenary who puts money before what is best for his playing career. A player of undoubted talent, who is wasting what he has by playing in the backwaters of Russia and failing to challenge himself at a top club or European league.
Maybe the interested Premier League clubs are better off without him after all.