On October 17th 2007, Roman Pavlyuchenko announced himself to English football fans, scoring both goals in Russia’s 2-1 European Championship qualifying victory over England.
Less than a year later, following impressive displays for Russia at Euro 2008 and with a formidable goalscoring record in Russian football, Pavlyuchenko signed for Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of around £14 million.
In his three full seasons thus far, Pavlyuchenko has scored at a rate of over a goal every three games, yet this season the Russian has found himself on the periphery. Currently Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermaine Defoe and Rafael Van der Vaart are above Pavlyuchenko in the pecking order up front.
The question must now be asked as to whether he has a long term future in North London or whether his days are numbered. Harry Redknapp has stated that while he wishes to keep hold of Pavlyuchenko, a significant improvement from the former Spartak Moscow man is required. If no improvement is forthcoming, will he be shipped out in January?
Pavlyuchenko would surely benefit from a consistent run of first team football, something he would expect if he moved in January. With a number of Russian clubs set to be monitoring his situation, a move could be a distinct possibility.
A perceived lack of flair is perhaps what keeps him from being a truly top striker; however his other attributes are impressive. A good touch, good movement, he can finish with either foot and he is no slouch in the air.
Tonight, Spurs face Rubin Kazan in a Europa League tie, with Harry Redknapp set to field a largely second string side once more in the competition. If Pavlyuchenko can put in a performance of the highest quality against the strong Russian outfit it may just kick-start his season and a reaffirm his long term future.
If not, and the Russian is subdued as he leads the line, it may well signal the beginning of the end for Pavlyuchenko as a Spurs player.
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