Chertanovo Moscow – Finally getting the recognition they deserve?

Last April, we introduced our readers to the project occurring at the southern Moscow club Chertanovo Moscow. They are a club who pride themselves on only using academy graduates in their first team, particularly young players. Russia’s international youth teams typically feature a strong number of Chertanovo players, some of whom are regular first-team players already.

READ MORE: Chertanovo – How the Russian Athletic Bilbao is Shaping the Future

Last April, Chertanovo were a third-tier side, sitting midtable. Since then, their young team earned promotion to the Russian second tier, the FNL. In their debut season at this level, and after half of the 2018/19 season, Chertanovo are comfortably in the top half of the table. Sat in eighth place and on 26 points, they are within a realistic striking distance of the promotion playoff zone, with just six points between themselves and fourth place.

This meteoric rise has coincided with a number of factors, internal and external, which has seen them a lot of attention. A combination of a great generation of young players coming through, the World Cup drawing eyes to Russia and the FNL starting to produce players who can move to Europe means that Chertanovo’s players are becoming realistic transfer targets for a number of clubs.

Boys among men

The Chertanovo squad is the youngest in the 2018/19 FNL season, and that is including the youth teams of Krasnodar, Spartak Moscow and Zenit St. Peterbsurg, who all play in the division. With an average age of just 20.2, Chertanovo’s oldest player this season is just 25 years old, with the rest of the squad aged 22 or less, including twelve teenagers.

Having reached eighth place so far – though they were in the top four early on – it highlights the effect of the excellent coaching these players have gone through in their short careers so far. First team regulars including Nail Umyarov, Vladislav Sarveli, Ivan Lomaev and Yuriy Gorshkov and Anton Zinkovskiy have led their side to some impressive results, and they had only lost twice in their opening twelve matches before hitting a rough patch of late.

Chertanovo’s boys have had the opportunity to pit themselves against professional footballers on a weekly basis in the FNL. A number of their opponents are seasoned professionals with plenty of top-flight and even international experience, and to see these kids go to huge World Cup stadiums – such as Mordovia’s Saransk Arena – and win is an incredible feat.

Chertanovo forward Maxim Glushenkov (19) has been linked with a big money move to Spartak Moscow | Photo: Sport-Express

For club and country

With the FNL becoming a potential transfer market for clubs abroad in recent years – as highlighted by the moves of Fashion Sakala, Idrisa Sambu (both Belgium) and Alexandr Zhirov (Germany) this summer, Chertanovo’s young talents were always bound to be noticed eventually. However, some impressive international displays through all the generations have certainly helped things.

Last October, one of their young players, Kirill Kolesnichenko, was selected as one of The Guardian’s Next Gen list, for the best players born in the year 2000. The winger earned himself a loan move to then RPL side SKA Khabarovsk, and in March, became the first 21st century born Russian player to appear in the RPL as he made a late sub appearance.

Jumping forward to this summer, in the COTIF Alcudia U20 tournament in August, Russia made their way to the final lead by Chertanovo duo Maxim Glushenkov and Dmitriy Tyspchenko. The attacking pair shone throughout the tournament and brought their club partnership to the national team perfectly well. However, it was Glushenkov who attracted a lot of the attention, as he ended up as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals in six appearances, adding four assists as well. Russia were eventually beaten by an Argentina side coached by Pablo Aimar, and went down to a last minute winner in the final.

But it’s not just those two leading the way. Throughtout Russia’s current youth squads, Chertanovo have representatives at every level down from U20.

  • Russia U20: two Chertanovo players
  • Russia U18: six Chertanovo players
  • Russia U17: two Chertanovo players
  • Russia U16: one Chertanovo player
  • Russia U15: four Chertanovo players

The U15 squad is notable for the inclusion of 14-year-old striker Sergey Pinyaev. Aged thirteen, he was called up to Russia’s U16 squad in August and scored a hat-trick against Israel. Back in February, Pinyaev trained with Manchester United for a week and scored five goals. He recently went viral after a five-goal haul against CSKA Moscow’s youth side, including a rabona for his hat-trick.

A unique project

Pinyaev has clearly already attracted attention from the World’s elite – his goal record alone was enough for that, but in this digital age, it will be much easier for clubs to keep tabs on him. There is hope he doesn’t fade off like other child prodigies of the past. Chertanovo’s preference is to keep their talents until they are at least 18-19 years old. That may be harder in Pinyaev’s case. But, he’s not alone.

In September and October, Chertanovo director Nikolay Larin gave two interviews to Russian media with some interesting comments about Chertanovo and their players:

It seems to me that we are a unique project. I want to believe that people who are interested in the fate of Russian football will pay attention to us and help.

The main task for Chertanovo is to prepare football players for RPL clubs and the national team. We understand that someday the moment will come when we will be forced to let our footballers go to other teams. Without proper funding, it’s impossible to keep them.

I will say more, three of our players from the Chertanovo first team are on the shortlist of Manchester United. This is without taking into account Pinyaev, who trained with them this year. They have already asked us to let him go to for an internship in December again. No one has forgotten about him.

Flying the nest?

Due to the performances of their talents, Chertanovo are now entertaining offers and drawing the eyes of scouts of clubs all over Europe. We at RFN have discussed Chertanovo players with scouts from Scotland and Belgium. One of them went as far as saying “I will pay anyone who finds a better player than Zinkovskiy in the FNL”, while the other cursed himself after learning about the imminent future of Glushenkov.

That is, that Spartak Moscow are reportedly set to seal a €1m double deal for both Glushenkov and Umyarov. After his impressive showing at the COTIF tournament, Glushenkov has shone in the FNL and has bagged nine goals and seven assists in 17 appearances, including a goal against Spartak-2 on the day the news broke. In midfield, 18-year-old Umyarov has barely missed a single minute of the season, and according to InStat Index, is ranked as the 13th best player in the entire league so far this season.

Of course, this is not the first time Spartak have raided Chertanovo. Current fringe player Artem Timofeev, as well as former defender Denis Kutin (now of FC Armavir) and Aleksandr Zuev (now FC Rostov) all made the same move earlier in their careers. Kutin has ended up in the FNL, Timofeev is very much a bit part player for Spartak, but he did score his first goal for the club this season, while Zuev was sold to Rostov having shone on loan there last season.

Back at Chertanovo, Zinkovskiy’s performances surely will warrant a move in the near future. As one of the squad’s older players at 22, he is one ready for the step up, whether that be to the RPL or abroad. He is ranked as the league’s sixth best player and has six goals so far this season. His terrific close control and direct running make him a constant threat at this level.

A sustainable future?

Chertanovo have admitted in the past that they are always looking for sponsors to help with hefty running costs, and that the €1m for Glushenkov and Umyarov would be roughly half of their annual budget.

There’s no doubt they’ll have lots of clauses inserted in any deal to take advantage of future moves of their players becoming internationals too. But it’s the way this club is set up. They are designed to live off their player sales and to rely on the next generation being as good as the last.

With players like Pinyaev already attracting attention aged 13, there can be high hopes that they can sustain themselves long term.  The club directors have deliberated whether being promoted to the RPL would benefit the club, and they have said that should they go up, they’ll motor on and try to succeed.

However, we have seen many a club falter in the with running costs in the top flight, and it would be a worry if they did go up, that this fantastic project could struggle to stay afloat.


Author: David Sansun

Arsenal and Rubin Kazan fan. Possibly too optimistic for Russian football which means I’m left disappointed a lot.


  1. […] Bemerkenswert auch: Obwohl in dieser Liga die Nachwuchsteams mehrerer gro?er Clubs spielen, ist Tschertanowo die Mannschaft mit dem niedrigsten Altersdurchschnitt. Mehr dazu, unter anderem ein Blick darauf, wie stark sie in den U20-, U18- und noch jüngeren Nationalmannschaften vertreten ist, hier: Chertanovo Moscow – Finally getting the recognition they deserve? […]

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