Football Central can exclusively reveal that Adelaide United defender Nigel Boogaard is in advanced negotiations with Russian side FC SKA-Energiya Khabarovsk. The 27-year-old defender is out of contract at the end of the current A-League season and will move on a free transfer, according to a source close to the deal.
Boogaard has featured 17 times for United this season, starting on 15 occasions. He has formed a good partnership alongside Jon McKain, who is also out of contract at the end of this campaign. Boogaard’s transfer will leave the Reds needing to enter the market for a centre back before next season.
Igor Udalyi, 29, and Mikhail Popov, 28, have been Energiya Khabarovsk’s preferred central defensive pairing in the league this season, with Udalyi making 22 starts, and Popov starting 20 times. These are the players Boogaard will have to compete with for a spot in the lineup.
Energiya Khabarovsk finished fifth last season in Russia’s second tier, the Russian National Football League, only missing out on the playoffs and possible promotion to the Russian Premier League by virtue of an inferior goal difference. The club have competed in the second division since 2002.
Energiya Khabarovsk are managed by Valdas Ivanauskas, who held numerous roles in the Lithuanian national team set-up and managed at Heart of Midlothian, where he won the Scottish Cup in 2006. He was also a former striker, playing for Lokomotiv Moscow, Austria Wien and Hamburger SV, among others.
Energiya Khabarovsk are based in the Eastern city of Khabarovsk, which has a population of over 500,000. The club play their home matches at the Lenin Stadium which holds just over 15,000 spectators.
Boogaard will be hoping to end his United career on a high by helping the Reds make a run in the finals, but the next task for the sixth-placed Reds is their clash with fifth-placed Sydney FC on Friday night at Coopers Stadium.