Well, there’s only one place to start, and that’s with the news that a well-placed source confirmed to me last night that any deal for Arshavin is off the table – for now, at least.
The Zenit hierarchy have proved impossible to negotiate with – it is not so much the asking price for Arshavin that is problematic, but the constantly shifting demands that are extraneous to the fee itself. Without wanting to say anything that could implicate a source, it’s fair to say that these two stories are both, in their own way, depressingly close to the mark.
The situation as it now stands is that Arsenal have made as many as three offers, which have all been rejected. The information I heard last night was that those close to the deal do not expect another offer to be made. That means that either Zenit will have to do a u-turn and accept our final offer, or the deal is off. And if they’re ever going to do that (which I doubt), it’ll only be right at the end of the window.
A key thing to consider is that Zenit are owned by Gazprom – the largest extractor of natural gas in the world. The financial power behind the club is extraordinary. They have no fiscal need, whatever the current climate, to accept a bid for Arshavin. They were only ever likely to agree to a deal if it suited them down to the last detail.
I have to admit, I do feel a little sorry for Arshavin, who is clearly desperate to move to Europe but hindered at every turn by the demands of not only his club, but his agent to boot.
As far as Arsenal are concerned, one can only hope that Arsene wasn’t lying when he said Arshavin was not his only target. There is no doubt the Russian is a hugely talented player, but if Zenit won’t be pinned down then our time would be better spent concentrating on deals which actually have a chance of coming off.
And as for us lot – the clamouring Arsenal fans – I suggest we forget about this deal. In fact, for the sake of our sanity and what is left of our hair, I suggest we forget about the possibility of signings entirely. There are things at the club to be excited about that don’t involve transfer fees, agents, or deadlines.
Take for example, Samir Nasri. When one considers we actually spent a fair chunk of money on this guy, it’s surprising his arrival wasn’t accompanied by a little more fanfare – especially when one throws in the fact that he came pre-packaged with one of the best put-together youtube compliations I’ve ever seen:
Hats off to the Marseille fan who edited that.
Despite a few injury problems, Nasri has settled exceptionally well, with six goals to his name already – a rate better than one every four games. If he carries on that pace in the second half of the season, he could end it with more goals than his predecessor, Aleksandr Hleb, scored in his entire time at Arsenal.
There are faults to his game – he occasionally drifts out of matches, and doesn’t always perform to his best level away from home. It was interesting to hear Arsene Wenger say at the weekend that Nasri requires pressure in order to perform – perhaps, like a fair few of our players, he finds it difficult to motivate himself against the smaller sides. Looking at some of the massive fixtures we have lined up in the second half of the season, we can probably expect to see yet more from Nasri before the Summer.
When one considers that this is first season in English football and that he is still only 21 – the same age as Nicklas Bendtner – the level of performance he has delivered thus far is remarkable. And THAT is something to be excited about.
There’ll be something else to be excited about here tomorrow. And it won’t be anything to do with a Russian playmaker.