Big-spending Zenit St Petersburg
have splashed a record 80 million euros on
Brazil striker Hulk and Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel, signing
each to a five-year contract, the Russian champions said on
Hulk, 26, joined Zenit from Porto and the 23-year-old Witsel
moved from Portuguese rivals Benfica.
"It's now official. Both players had signed five-year
deals," Zenit spokesman Dmitry Tsimmerman said.
A club source said Zenit had paid 40 million euros for each
Hulk helped Porto to win three Portuguese league titles and
the 2011 Europa League trophy after joining from the Japanese J
League in 2008.
Hulk and Witsel became Zenit's first major signings in the
summer transfer window, which remains open in Russia for another
Zenit, drawn in Champions League Group C along with AC
Milan, Anderlecht and Malaga, will be able to use both players
in Europe's premier club competition.
"We were trying to sign them before the Sept. 3 deadline for
the Champions League so they can play for us in that competition
as well as the Russian league," Tsimmerman said.
Media reports also linked big-spending Zenit, backed by
Russian energy giant Gazprom, with a $40 million bid for
Manchester United's Portuguese striker Nani.
Tsimmerman declined to comment on Nani's possible transfer.
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