Europa draw pits sellers against buyers

Big spenders Tottenham Hotspur are grouped with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala as Europa League draw is made.

Anzhi billionaire owner Suleiman Kerimov triggered selling spree after putting whole team up for sale [AFP]
Anzhi billionaire owner Suleiman Kerimov triggered selling spree after putting whole team up for sale [AFP]

Tottenham Hotspur, who have splurged over $100 million on new talent, were on Friday drawn in the same Europa League group as Anzhi Makhachkala, the Russian club who have been selling off their players.

Anzhi put their entire first team squad up for sale after their billionaire owner cut the club’s budget, triggering an exodus of expensively acquired players.

Group K opponents Spurs, who had been linked with Anzhi’s Brazilian playmaker Willian before he joined Chelsea instead along with the Russian club’s Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o, have brought in several new faces.

Tottenham have already broken their transfer record twice with the signings of Spain striker Roberto Soldado and Brazil midfielder Paulinho amid media reports that their Wales forward Gareth Bale will join Real Madrid in a world record deal.

The draw for the group stage of Europe’s second-tier club competition also featured Cypriot side APOEL, who have replaced Fenerbahce, and Norway’s Tromso, reinstated in place of Besiktas after the Turkish clubs lost appeals against match-fixing bans.

APOEL feature in Group F with France’s Bordeaux, Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, while Tromso are in Tottenham’s group along with Moldovan outfit Sheriff.

Former European champions PSV Eindhoven were drawn in Group B alongside Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb, Ukraine’s Chornomorets Odessa and Bulgaria’s Ludogorets.

Sevilla, who won back-to-back UEFA Cups – the predecessor to the Europa League – in 2006 and 2007 will face Germany’s Freiburg, Portugal’s Estoril and Czech side Liberec in Group H.

Holders Chelsea and last season’s runners-up Benfica are competing in the Champions League.

There are 48 clubs across 12 groups. Group winners and runners-up advance to the knockout stage where they will be joined by eight third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage. The final will staged in Turin, Italy, in May

Source: Reuters

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