It’s a week since Arsene Wenger sanctioned Andrey Arshavin’s loan return to Zenit St Petersburg and he’s still having to justify the decision after the raising of collective eyebrows across the red half of North London.
Speaking to the press ahead of tomorrow’s tough trip to Liverpool, a fixture in which the Russian scored five goals with six attempts in his first two games at Anfield, the boss added further weight to the theory he let the little winger leave the Emirates in order to get playing time ahead of Euro 2012.
“I just felt he needed to play. When you are 30 and you do not play regularly, you drop your form and when you come on every time you have to produce something special.
“At that age it is very difficult. I felt he just needed a bit of confidence to play again.”
A staunch defender of Arshavin, despite the player being roundly criticised as both lazy and ineffectual by media and fans alike, you can’t help but think that Wenger’s loyalty to Andrey has played a major factor in this decision. Indeed it strikes Arseblog News as the same kind of personal affection which saw Wenger allow Sol Campbell to leave the club on a free once the former centre-back declared his desire to play abroad (something he then didn’t do…)
While few would be surprised if Arshavin were to ever wear the Arsenal shirt again in anger, Wenger did stress that the return to Russia is only on a temporary basis at the moment.
“Things have not ended because he is still our player, he is only out on loan,” suggested Arsene.
With only a year left on Arshavin’s contract, Ivan Gazidis could still attempt to muster a half-decent transfer fee this summer for a player who is thought to have cost in the region of £15 million three years ago.
That being said, unless he wins Zenit the title and Russia become champions of Europe in Ukraine and Poland, it seems unlikely the 30-year-old will move for much more than couple of crates of homemade moonshine.