Expectations are high following Vagif Dzhavadov's switch to FC Twente, with Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan general secretary Elhan Mamedov calling it "the biggest transfer in our nation's football history".
Spell in Russia
When Dzhavadov, a PFC CSKA Moskva trainee, returned to his homeland and FK Qarabağ in 2007 some scoffed that the move was financially motivated, accusing the forward of prioritising his bank balance over development as a player. Yet as he prepares to embark on the next stage of his career in the Eredivisie, that claim has lost its currency. "In two years I've proved those people wrong," said the 20-year-old. "I owe a lot to Qarabağ, where I've grown as a player. I'm extremely happy to have caught the eye of one of the Netherlands' leading sides."
Dzhavadov has formed his own destiny. Having played a leading role as Qarabağ overcame Rosenborg BK and FC Honka Espoo in UEFA Europa League qualifying, he shone as the opposition got even harder in the play-offs, proving a major highlight in a 3-1 aggregate defeat by Twente. "He made a good impression," said Twente coach Steve McClaren after signing the 2009 Azerbaijani player of the year. "Vagif can play anywhere in attack and is a player for the future. Every minute Dzhavadov plays this season will be a bonus."
The campaign has already been one to remember for the youngster. Aside from the personal honours and Qarabağ's success, he has also made inroads at international level, taking his tally to four goals in 24 caps with the strike that earned a shock 1-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw against Russia in October. According to Mamedov, his move to Twente "will help the national team" too, and while Qarabağ no doubt appreciate their financial reward, there could by far-reaching consequences for them as they establish firm links with the Dutch outfit.
"We plan to open a new school in Baku," said Qarabağ president Tahir Gozal. "Dutch coaches will work there and our players and young coaches will undergo training in the Netherlands. I'm sure the project will benefit both sides." Dzhavadov can attest to Twente's hospitality – "they have given me a good welcome, with a flat and a car" – and he, of course, also benefited from a spell abroad in his formative years. His uncle, former PFC Neftçi and FC Dinamo Moskva striker Iskander Dzhavadov explains: "My brother Fizuli made a very good decision when he sent Vagif to the CSKA academy aged seven. His role in his son's success has been huge."
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