Club: Sparta Prague
Vyacheslav Karavaev first moved to the Czech Republic in 2014 when he signed, on loan, for Dukla Prague from CSKA Moscow. After an incredible debut season, CSKA decided another year in the Synot Liga (as it was then called) would be beneficial to the right-back’s development. Karavaev was quickly snapped up by Jablonec, who were looking to make waves both at home and abroad.
As capable going forwards as he is when defending, Karavaev could (nearly) do it all. His assured performances meant that twelve months ago, this website predicted he would outgrow the Czech Republic fairly quickly.
Well, he’s still in the Czech Republic – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
As Miroslav Pelta’s Galactico project came to a tame and embarrassing end, Vyacheslav Karavaev ignored what was going on around him and knuckled down. During that season of chaos at Střelnice, the Russian was fielded at right-back, left-back and right-midfield, as first Jaroslav Šilhavý and then Zdenko Frťala shuffled the pack, unable to find a winning formula. No matter where he was told to play, Karavaev did what was expected and showed glimpses of the quality that we all knew he possessed.
And so when his loan deal came to its conclusion, he returned back to Russia to fight for his place at CSKA Moscow.
We weren’t expecting miracles – not immediately at least. Logic dictated that Karavaev would probably spend a year or two playing second-fiddle to Mario Fernandes, CSKA’s incumbent right-back, or head to a fellow Russian Premier League side for the 2016-17 season in order to gain some more first-team experience. Then, after a period of adjustment and maturation, he would then arrive at a crossroads, where he would either:
- Step up and graduate into CSKA’s starting XI, or
- Permanently leave Moscow’s Khoroshyovsky District in search of regular playing time.
During pre-season, Karavaev played a handful of times but took up a place on the CSKA bench when the competitive games started. But, then Sparta Prague tabled an offer. CSKA accepted it and the 21-year-old found himself heading back to the Czech Republic.
Since arriving at Sparta, Karavaev has been near perfect and he looks like he could make the right-back position at Letná his own for years to come. Unless somebody offers a decent sized cheque for his services, something that will probably happen in the not-too-distant future.
Surrounded by better players this year than at any other point in his promising career, he has already built up a remarkable resume whilst wearing the red of Sparta. He’s as sound as ever defensively and hasn’t been shown up when making the step up to compete in the Europa League, though we’re sure greater tests than those posed by Inter Milan and Southampton await. Going forwards, he hs been unleashed: At the halfway stage of the seasons, he has registered six assists from right-back and ensured that comparisons to Pavel Kadeřábek don’t sail too wide of the mark.
Vyacheslav Karavaev has it all for this level and it seems a redundant notion of tracking his continued development through performances against the Příbram’s of this world. From now on, it’s how he copes in Europe and if he can be the difference in those title-deciding fixtures against Viktoria Plzeň and Slavia Prague.
And here’s a prediction: Karavaev will move on to bigger and better things within the next eighteen months to two years. Germany, or a triumphant return to Russia awaits.
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 20th January 2017