Archive for January 20th, 2009

Arsenal refuse to meet with Zenit in Petersburg

2 comments January 20th, 2009

Contrary to reports in the press this morning, Arsenal have not flown a delegation out to Moscow, or Petersburg, or anywhere like it.  When asked this morning if a fee has been agreed for the playmaker, Zenit President Maxim Mitrofanov denied any deal had been done, adding:

“Zenit are prepared to meet Arsenal to discuss this. We are ready to reduce the fee and accept certain bonus clauses as part of the agreement. But so far Arsenal have refused to increase their offer for Andrei above £12m. If the Londoners come over to Russia to meet with us there is a very good chance they will get Arshavin. But so far that hasn’t happened as Arsenal say they see no point in having discussions in St. Petersburg.”

Indications in the Russian press are that £12m is our final offer, and that at this stage we remain uwilling to go beyond that.

Arshavin and his agent, Dennis Lachter, seem relatively unconcerned.  In one interview with SovSport, Lachter talks openly about contact he’s had with Inter Milan and Juventus (whilst insisting he’s heard nothing from Man City), and in this piece he suggests Arshavin may wait till November and buy out his contract:

“Unfortunately, there is no movement and no new news this morning.  Definitely money is still the sticking point, I think Zenit is still asking for an unacceptable amount of money, they are still playing very tough – it’s the position of the club and this is the grim reality.  We will not go out of contract with Zenit in the Summer, we will wait until November. In November he will be able to use his right to buy out under Article 17 of the FIFA rules.   I believe we will have many options. He will be one of the most wanted players in World football. I can’t say if it will be Spain, Italy or England – time will tell.”

It doesn’t look great.  It is, of course, entirely possible that Lachter is using the threat of a contractual buy-out to force Zenit into accepting Arsenal’s current or next bid.  However, what seems increasingly likely is that our bid has been rejected, we’re refusing (as with Xabi Alonso) to go above that £12m figure, and Arshavin is now on the look-out for another way out.  The way this is looking,  my money would be on the latter.

So it seems this week won’t bring the good news many were hoping for.  Thanks to Dublin Adam again for the detective work and translation.  There’s still almost two weeks of this nonsense to go.  Painful.

“The Arabs are coming! The Arabs are coming!”

38 comments January 20th, 2009

“…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:


(When you’ve trivialised the Obama election victory as readily as I have, then The American Revolution really is nothing.)

Morning all.  First, what in my opinion can only be considered good news: Kaka has rejected Manchester City - but don’t worry Noel, at least you got this guy:

Don't worry, guys!

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.

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