Chelsea FC midfield player Aleksei Smertin has been loaned to English Premiership rivals Charlton Athletic FC for the coming season.
The 30-year-old Russian international joined Chelsea in 2003 from FC Girondins de Bordeaux. Having spent his first 12 months in England on loan at Portsmouth FC, he was an important squad member at Stamford Bridge last term, making 16 appearances as his team secured their first league title in 50 years. He also won his 50th Russia cap.
However, towards the end of the campaign he was only an occasional substitute, and with Chelsea likely to sign another player in his position, Smertin has moved across the English capital. "The last two months of last season at Chelsea were painful for me because I'm not used to sitting on the bench," the 1999 Russian Player of the Year said. "There were other offers, but I wanted to stay in London. My family is settled here and it is a fantastic city."
Charlton manager Alan Curbishley said: "I would like to thank José Mourinho for allowing Aleksei to join us on a season-long loan. The player wanted to come to us and we are very pleased to welcome him. Aleksei is a flexible player and can play in so many positions. He gives us extra options and makes our squad that much bigger."
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