Archive for January 31st, 2009

Arshavin has 2 days. Or 53 hours. Or 3203 minutes. Or 192216 seconds.

Add comment January 31st, 2009


Time is running out for Arsenal to complete a deal for Andrei Arshavin, but for the first time in a saga that has now run for more than a month, there does seem to be a little urgency and signs of significant progress.

Sky Sports News and Russian source Sovietsky Sport are reporting that Arshavin has left his Dubai hotel separately from his Zenit team-mates, and boarded a flight to London.  Just as Arsene refuted claims yesterday that we had applied for a work permit, the player’s representative is denying the Sky story, suggesting the player is returning to St. Petersburg as scheduled. 

Arsene, however, seems confident.  It is incredibly unusual for him to talk about another club’s player openly, but yesterday he was very candid about why Arshavin is a target:

“In a big club, you are always under pressure to have a player who gives you something special. It’s like that everywhere — at Real Madrid, Manchester United and Arsenal. They are the players that are most difficult to find.  He’s a guy who can go past people in the final third.  He can have the key, individually and collectively.  He is an experienced player, 27, a good age and we are a very young side. We will not have Fabregas in the next six to eight weeks, we will not have Walcott in the next five weeks, Rosicky in the next eight weeks. One more body could help us.”

There remains such a thick fog around the goings-on in this deal that it’s very difficult to read.  Even Zenit are unusually quiet.  All one can really detect with any certainty is a general movement towards a positive outcome as the window creaks closed.  I still think this will go right up till the last few hours of the window. 

If he does arrive, he’ll be the only man through the door, with the manager insistent that his current crop of central defenders and midfielders is good enough.  I’m not sure I agree with him there, but it is worth pointing out that Arshavin is one of a select few quality players available in January, and that is only because it’s the Russian off-season.  Whatever Arsene says now, I expect him to move for a central midfielder in the Summer, with suggestions he has already enquired about one world class player based in Spain.

Arsene is keen to tie up a deal for Robin van Persie, who (terrifyingly) joins Walcott, Toure and Gallas in having just 18 months remaining on his contract.  The manager says:

“I’m convinced it means a lot to Robin to stay here.  He wants to be part of the Club and of course we have to satisfy his demands as well. I don’t think we’re far away.  He knows how much it means to me and we will try to sort him out and Walcott. I’ve invested a lot of time in him because I feel it is important to them and it means something to them to be at this Club.”

With Robin’s current form, this deal is arguably more important than any potential signing.

Today we face in-form West Ham, whose strike partnership of Carlton Cole and David Di Michele could cause us all sorts of problems.  Cole is in the kind of rich vein of form that has deserted Emmanuel Adebayor of late, and the Togolese could well be left out today with Nicklas Bendtner starting.  Hopefully the return of Eduardo will provide Adebayor with the competition he evidently needs to motivate himself.

Other than that, the side sort of picks itself.  I’d imagine Song might drop to the bench with Diaby playing alongside Denilson, and one would expect Gallas to continue to keep out Toure.

The Hammers are playing well under Zola, but it’s a home game against a mid-table side: we ought to win.

Come On You Gunners.

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