Rami won’t move to Russia, eyes England
Valencia defender Adil Rami has closed the door on a move to Russia, but is keeping an open mind about approaches from the Premier League.
After catching the eye at Lille, Rami, 27, has developed into one of Europe's most accomplished centre-backs since moving to La Liga in 2011.
Although he remains under contract with Valencia until 2015, the France international has acknowledged that he could leave the Mestalla in the summer.
However, having seen compatriot Lassana Diarra pushed to the margins of the French national team following his move to Anzhi Makhachkala, Rami will not be joining the former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder in Dagestan.
"I won't go to Anzhi Makhachkala, in spite of a great offer. I haven't said my final word with the French national team, and I'll take that into account when I make my choice," Rami told Le Parisien, adding that England - where Liverpool and Arsenal are reportedly admirers - is a more likely potential destination. "Perhaps. I need to be at a big European club."
Rami suggested, however, that his comfortable contractual position and his burgeoning reputation may merely serve to reinforce his standing at Valencia.
"I've still got two years on my contract,” he said. “I'm settled nicely at Valencia. I've earned everyone's respect. I have all the cards in hand."
Despite being a first-team regular with his club, Rami has dropped down the pecking order at international level. A stalwart of Les Bleus alongside Philippe Mexes under Laurent Blanc, he has only featured once under Didier Deschamps.
The Valencia player concedes that the emergence of youngster Raphael Varane has added a heavyweight rival in an already competitive scrap for a centre-back berth with the national side.
"My rivals for the position aren't always first-choice in their clubs. Apart from Raphael Varane, who's in the best position now, no-one scares me. I'm still a competitor," Rami, who was a council-employed labourer before joining Lille in 2006, said.
"I rose quite quickly to prominence. I was praised when I played with Mexes, then the first lot of criticism came. But I've tried to step back from that, everyone goes through the same thing. I'm going to wait for the right moment and there will be more than one who'll be afraid."