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Lokomotiv Moscow defender Solomon Kvirkvelia seems to be the man in demand in the Premier League, as reports from the Sun claim that as many as three English top-flight clubs are battling it out for the signature of the Georgian international.
The report claims that 2015-16 Premier League winners Leicester City are in the race to sign the 25-year old, along with Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion and strugglers Crystal Palace. Kvirkvelia is believed to be valued in the range of £18million and will reportedly jump at the chance of plying his trade in the Premier League.
With sudden peak of interest in his services towards the end of the summer transfer window, we take a close look at who Solomon Kvirkvelia is and what he would offer to the club that he may join.
Born in Samtredia, Georgia, on 6 February 1992, Solomon ‘Saba’ Kvirkvelia began his football journey with the T.S. Akademia back in his native of Georgia. He had a short loan spell with the youth side of Russian outfit Zenit St. Petersburg in 2010, following which he permanently switched to another Russian club, Rubin Kazan, in January 2011.
Having made his debut for Rubin Kazan in July 2011, the centre-back made only 6 appearances for the club, before being loaned out to FC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk for six months between July and December 2012, where he impressed in his 19 appearances.
After returning to Kazan, Kvirkvelia soon established himself as an important part of the first-team, as he went on to make 111 appearances for the club, scoring 3 goals and assisting 3 more until February 2017, when he was loaned out to Lokomotiv Moscow. After impressing in his 15 outings for Lokomotiv in the second half of last season, the 25-year old was signed on a permanent deal this summer by the club, in June. Kvirkvelia has started off the new season in a strong fashion as well, netting twice in 8 league appearances for Lokomotiv.
The 25-year old had represented the Georgia national team at the U-16s and the U-21s level, before making his senior debut in March 2014. Since then, he has played 23 times on the international level.
A centre-back of the old mould, Kvirkvelia is known for his no-nonsense style of defending, but also combines it with good ball-playing abilities.
Standing tall at 6ft 5in, the Georgian international presents a daunting image at the back and has the physical prowess to bully people off the ball as well. His height and physicality mean he is often unbeatable when it comes to aerial duels and is often a big threat from set-pieces in the opposition box.
A strong and an aggressive tackler, the 25-year old isn’t reckless going into challenges and has displayed good reading of the game and positional awareness, that allows him to intercept passes and make crucial blocks.
The ability to carry the ball out from the backline or play accurate passes from deep areas has become a key factor that managers look for in central defenders these days. While Kvirkvelia isn’t the best at either of these, he does have the ability to play long passes with decent accuracy and this is something that he will need to improve, if he is to develop into an all-round world-class centre-half.
After a difficult start to life in Russia, Kvirkvelia has come into his own in recent seasons and has shown tremendous amount of potential. The 25-year old is strong and athletic and has all the attributes to make it big in the English top-flight.
£18million in the current state of market, for a talented 25-year old centre-back who has shown great promise wouldn’t be the worst piece of business for any of the clubs interested.