Andrey Arshavin’s Arsenal career is clearly approaching its end. It does not take a genius to see that. Look at the diminishing percentage of Premier League starts he has made over the course of his Arsenal career:
08/09 – 100%
09/10 – 83%
10/11 – 68%
11/12 – 42%
As his work-rate and productivity have declined, so have Arsene Wenger’s faith in his mercurial talent. His nadir came this week, when he was dropped down to the Reserves for their game with Norwich.
Against the odds, he actually turned in a decent display, combining well with Yossi Benayoun and scoring twice. One wondered if Arsene might consider handing him a return to the first team, particularly with Theo Walcott out of form and Aaron Ramsey injured.
Instead, it seems to have prompted interest in his homeland. Zenit St. Petersburg, his former club, are trying to negotiate a loan deal until the end of the season before tonight’s deadline. They have lost their playmaker, the Portugese midfielder Danny, to injury, and Arshavin is still viewed as a talismanic figure in the city of his birth. Arsenal were known to be resistant to any deal, but James Olley of the Evening Standard reports that the offer of a £1m loan fee has forced a breakthrough in talks.
I know Arshavin has been a major disappointment. I know that the end of his Arsenal career is inevitable. But why let him go now? With the number of injuries our squad picks up, it’s almost certain he would have been used between now and May. And for all his flaws, he is very occasionally capable of important, match-winning contributions.
For the sake of a few months wages, I cannot see the sense in selling at this point. But then, that’s rather in-keeping with most of our transfer business of late.