Andrey Lunev has sealed a shock move to Azerbaijani giants Qarabag FK while finally bringing an end to suggestions that the Russia international goalkeeper could end up at Rangers.
Jack Butland may have made quite the impact in his new Ibrox home – Neil McCann not the only one marvelling at a superb piece of business from the Scottish Premiership powerhouses – but do not rule out the arrival of another shot-stopper to provide competition in Mick Beale’s ranks.
It seems unlikely that Rangers would stand in Jon McLaughlin’s way. Robby McCrorie, meanwhile, finds himself on the radar of a Manchester United side looking to add depth to their own goalkeeping department, and such an opportunity may be too good for the Scot to turn down.
Should McCrorie go, Rangers would need a replacement. His potential successor will not, however, by Andrey Lunev.
Rangers will not be signing Andrey Lunev
Linked with Rangers a few months ago, the experienced shot-stopper has finally found a new club after his Bayer Leverkusen contract expired. And while few would have guessed that Lunev would be plying his trade in Azerbaijan come September, the prospect of regular first-team football at Qarabag was enough to win over a man who played only two Bundesliga games between 2021 and 2023.
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“Emotions are primarily motivated by the desire to play. There were offers from Russian and European clubs. The latest proposals from European teams are include some (we received) when we were already here in Baku,” Lunev’s agent tells Sport24.
“We could not consider this proposal, since we were already here. They were a little late. We were not ready to discuss it. In half an hour, we were already signing a contract (with Qararbag).
“As a rule, breaking (agreements) and leaving in such circumstances always negatively affects the career of a football player, and the consequences will be bad.”
Big week ahead in European play-offs
Lunev won three Russian Premier League titles with Zenit St Petersburg. And while the goalkeeper’s representative accepts that the Azerbaijani top-flight represents a step backwards in terms of quality, Lunev could still play Europa League football in 2023/24.
Qarabag will take on NK Olimpija Ljubljana in the play-off round this week.