It’s a funny old game football. In January, having slipped into the footballing equivalent of a coma, Andrei Arshavin cut the most sorry of figures. Plump and in a slump, he couldn’t have been further removed from the sparkling figure who arrived in London four years earlier declaring “I am Gooner now.”
It appears though, that the much loved / incredibly frustrating winger (delete as appropriate) has revived his bottom-waddling swagger and even has a medal to prove it. Loaned to former club Zenit St Petersburg in February, the midfielder has since rediscovered his form and been an important cog in Luciano Spalletti’s squad as they secured their third ever Russian Premier League title.
Officially crowned champions on Sunday, despite losing their final game of the season, the diminutive winger was affectionately carried on the shoulders of a buoyant home crowd (although that one chap at the back looks a bit pained) as they revelled in the successful return of their prodigal son.
It remains to be seen whether Arshavin is still part of Arsene Wenger’s plans. Focusing on his participation at the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine the 30-year-old has made clear he won’t talk about his future until his international duties are done and dusted.
“I haven’t yet thought about (my future). Everything will be decided after the European Championship,” Arshavin told Russian newspaper Sport Express.
“Of course, the result and quality of play there could affect my destiny.”
That being said, he has stressed that leaving the Gunners on a temporary basis was very much the right decision.
“Without a doubt I can say that the decision to return to Zenit was correct. First of all, I am now playing regularly. Secondly, it’s hometown. Third, Zenit has ensured me of everything so that my thoughts are focused only on football.”
Given the arrival of Lukas Podolski, the burgeoning talent of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the signing of a new deal by Tomas Rosicky and the fact Arsenal can still recoup some of the initial outlay paid for Arshavin, it seems unlikely the Russian will be on the books at the Emirates next term.
We’ll just have to see how it pans out, but for now, fair play to the little man; it’s nice to see someone winning something.