FC Torpedo Kutaisi midfield player Malkhaz Asatiani has joined Russian champions FC Lokomotiv Moskva.
The 22-year-old Georgian impressed Lokomotiv scouts during Torpedo's recent Commonwealth Cup campaign in Moscow and has agreed terms with Yuri Semin's side. FC Spartak Moskva were also supposed to be interested in Asatiani, and he recently went on trial to FC Dynamo Kyiv, but the Ukrainian side could not agree terms with Torpedo.
Regarded as something of an anomaly in Georgian football, Asatiani was not the product of a club youth system as his impoverished family background meant he could not afford to train permanently with any team. He played for Torpedo's reserve side until the arrival of coach David Kipiani, who gave him his first professional contract in 1999/00.
Ineligible for Europe
Since he was signed after the transfer window closed, Asatiani will not be eligible to play in Lokomotiv's remaining UEFA Champions League games. However, other recent Lokomotiv signings, Costa Rica international striker Winston Parks, goalkeeper Platon Zakharchuk and young defender Vladislav Khatazhenkov, have all been added to the club's list of eligible players.
Asatiani has been capped at Under-21 level for Georgia and made his debut for the national side in April 2001. He will join Lokomotiv at their winter training camp in Italy and has become the second Georgian to play for his new club, following in the footsteps of Zaza Janashia, who recently signed for Kocaelispor.
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