“…So through the night rode Ivan Gazidis;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
Through every Russian village and farm,
A cry of defiance, yet one that won’t please-us,
A voice in the darkness – something about “City”,
And suddenly for Arsenal the outlook is shitty.
For, borne on the night-wind of Kaka’s rejection,
Mark Hughes is now plotting Arshavin’s defection;
In the hour of darkness and peril and despair,
The people will waken and listen to heed this-
The blurted cries of a CEO with no hair,
And the midnight message of Ivan Gazidis:
THE ARABS ARE COMING! THE ARABS ARE COMING!“
It seems that a historic club and a highly principled individual have stood firm against swathes of cash, and however clichéd it seems I can’t help but believe that represents a victory for football.
For Arsenal fans, however, it could give cause for concern, as today’s Times’ leading story suggests:
“Now that the lure of AC Milan has trumped City, Cook [Gary – Executive Chairman] and his advisers will have to look elsewhere for their marquee signing. Andrei Arshavin, 27, the Zenit St Petersburg and Russia playmaker, is reported to be under consideration. Arshavin is Arsenal’s No 1 January target and it remains to be seen whether Mark Hughes, the City manager, would want to play Robinho and Arshavin in the same team.”
If you want to see Arshavin at Arsenal, you’d better hope Mark Hughes doesn’t fancy seeing Robinho alongside Arshavin, and instead decides to follow up the £14m signing of Bellamy with a £28m swoop for Danny Murphy. Because if City do want Arshavin, they’ll get him. Whilst we’ve steadily revised our bid, trying to do a deal that suits the club, City could waltz in with an offer of £20m and £100,000 p/week and blow us out of the water.
But here’s what I would say to counter that: I don’t think Kaka was part of Hughes’ team-building strategy. I think he was a one-off ‘marquee purchase’, as The Times call it. On that basis, I can’t see Hughes feeling that a team containing Robinho, Wright-Phillips, and Ireland need Arshavin. Furthermore, I don’t think the Russian has the star profile to warrant the movers-and-Sheikhers that control City forcing him upon the manager in the manner of Robinho, say, or Kaka.
On the other side of this still spinning coin is the fact that if, unlike Kaka, Arshavin sees City as a club worth joining ahead of a member of the established European elite, perhaps he’s not the kind of character we need.
In any case, we may beat City to any potential deal before the idea has even been fully hatched in their minds. As alluded to in the bastardised poem above, representatives from Arsenal (one would guess Gazidis and Ken Friar) are believed to have jetted into Moscow to try and hammer (and sickle?) out a deal.
Zenit manager Dick Advocaat seems resigned to losing Arshavin, saying:
“Negotiations with Arsenal continue and the chances are very high that Arshavin will soon play in the English Premier League.”
Mouthy agent Dennis Lachter, meanwhile, said:
“There is no concrete news yet but on Tuesday there could be.”
Well, today is Tuesday. But then, I can’t be sure of the exact worth of Dennis’s word. I am, however, sure that even Manchester City wouldn’t pay very much for it.
Hurry up, Ivan, and get the deal done. Lest you forget: The Arabs are (possibly) coming.