By now everyone knows that Cuban superstar Wilfredo Leon, arguably the best player in the world, will be joining Italy’s Sir Safety Perugia next season. Ever since reports first started to link the Cuban high flyer to the team, fans across the volleyball community have asked what would happen to Ivan Zaytsev‘s spot on the roster. Lots of rumors surfaced across the internet as to where he would end up, as it was known to the public that he was tired of being an outside hitter and wanted to return to the opposite position. However, it just so happens that Perugia‘s current opposite is one of the world’s best at his position, Serbian Aleksandar Atanasijević, who is already signed to the team for two more seasons. Here is what the team’s President, Gino Serci, had to say of the matter a month ago:
“Yes, we have reached an agreement in all aspects for a two year extension with Atanasijevic and Podrascanin. Perugia’s future today starts with Aleksandar Atanasijević and Marko Podraščanin and not with Ivan Zaytsev, which has decided to change positions. I understand that, even in soccer it is better to be a striker than than a defender. We believe he will play somewhere else. However, we hope he decides to stay. He said he wants to stay in Italy and I do not know if he can find the same technical conditions he has in Perugia elsewhere in the country. We are willing to wait for his decision.”
It now seems that Zaytsev has become a little more flexible to his on court preferences, and has communicated Perugia he would be willing to stay on the team. Here is what Gino Serci had to say in hi most recent media announcement about his star player (Ivolleymagazine.it):
“Zaytsev wanting to remain in Perugia has created a problem from a financial point of view, but it is in the interest of Perugia to keep him. We will do our best for him to stay with us, but obviously, we will have to find the financial means.”
A team that has Zaytsev and Leon at the wings, and Atanasijevic at the opposite position would be just too powerful to handle. Not even the possible Yoandy Leal and Osmany Juantorena tandem at Lube Civitanova would fare much of a chance against them. Such a move would most certainly polarize European volleyball between Perugia and Russia’s Zenit Kazan, who would have in its roster Earvin Ngapeth, Matt Anderson, and Maxim Mikhaylov. It would certainly make for a star studded CEV Champions League and FIVB Club WCH finals.