The young Armenian is having a break out year at Russian Premier League side, FC Krasnodar. With the obvious comparisons with Mkhitaryan, we are going to examine the young emerging rookie. Let’s investigate Eduard’s rise to first-team football and see what all the fuss is about.
Eduard Spertsyan has spent his whole career at FC Krasnodar and made his professional debut for FC Krasnodar-2 on March 17 2018.1 At this stage Krasnodar-2 were in the Russian third division and Spertsyan was 17 approaching his 18th birthday. On Spertsyan’s debut season, Krasnodar-2 secured promotion to the second division. Coincidence? Maybe.
Spertsyan went on to make 74 appearances for the Krasnodar-2 before a rich run of form earned him a call up to the first-team. He made his debut on September 18 2020, aged 20.2 Coming onto the pitch as a 76th minute substitute, it was an easy run out as FC Krasnodar demolished FC Khimiki 7:2. Spertsyan worked his way to becoming a first team regular and, now, is one of the first players on the team-sheet.
He has started the 2022/23 season on fire, scoring 8 and assisting 3 in 10 appearances in the Russian Premier League.1 What makes this so remarkable is he’s doing this from midfield! Usually deployed of the left side of a 3 man midfield, or a left sided attacking winger, his surging runs into the box are putting up huge numbers. He has a direct style putting the defenders on the back-foot with his dribbling skills. On top of that, he has a bomb of a right foot, capable of scoring from long range. Ireland learned this in their recent 1-0 defeat to Armenia.3 Spertsyan scored a spectacular long range drive to secure an upset against the Irish.
In the return fixture against Ireland, Eduard scored again but, unfortunately, Armenia lost 3:2.4The Krasnodar number 10 is also dangerous on the set-piece, which included a belter against Russian giants, Zenit.
Although an International with Armenia, Spertsyan always wanted to play for the Russian team.5 It has been reported that Eduard was tired of waiting for the Russia call up despite growing up in Russia and being fluent in the language. He had impressive form but he was getting overlooked for the Russian youth team. On the 17th of Febuary 2021, it was confirmed by the Armenian football federation that Spertsyan would be joining the national team. Obviously hindsight makes us all wise, but it seems Russia have really missed out on a great talent. Not only is he currently playing out of his skin, there is an argument to be made that he is one of the best players in the Russian Premier league.
It’s funny how life plays out. Spertsyan didn’t get his call up to the Russian national team, but it may be a blessing in disguise.
With recent world events Russia have been banned until at least 2024 in world competitions.6 The Russian national team can only compete in friendlies for now, mostly against weak CIS opposition. But this isn’t the only advantage Spertsyan gets for choosing Armenia. I expect there to be serious interest in Spertsyan’s signature this January and next season. Whether the recent sanctions make negotiations with FC Krasnodar difficult is yet to be seen, but because he has chosen Armenia, there will be no restrictions regarding his work-permit as he is not a Russian national. In the worst case scenario, Spertsyan could run down his contract and have no issues negotiating a deal.
Being currently in Belarus, I look forward to keeping tabs on Spertsyan. It will be interesting to see how his season plays out. Will he continue the thrive or will he fizzle out? I predict he will continue to impress. Not put up these numbers all season, because a goal a game ratio for a midfielder is insane. But I could see him finishing with around 15 goals and, potentially, push Krasnodar towards a title challenge.
Time will tell with Spertsyan. He is 22 years old and approaching his prime. Will he reach the stardom of the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan? Or will he underwhelm? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.