Zenit St Petersburg have confirmed they are ready to talk to Arsenal about a permanent deal for Andrei Arshavin, but insist the midfielder will only be signed for football reasons not because of his history with the club.
Taking a swipe at the way Arshavin has been dealt with by the Arsenal coaching staff, Zenit CEO Maxim Mitrofanov told Izvestia:
“We took Andrei on loan, and we believe that we’ve shown Arsenal how to deal with players as they train.
“Now everything depends on Arshavin. If Andrei is ready to stay in the team and go on the field as a player, we are ready to discuss it.
“Arshavin is part of our club, but with all due respect to him, he’ll only stay in the event that he proves himself useful as an active player, not as a man making up the numbers.”
Having returned to St Petersburg in February, Arshavin scored three goals in ten appearances as Zenit wrapped up the Russian title.
While it has been widely reported that the Russian benefitted from regular football, showing flashes of his enigmatic brilliant, Mitrofanov (seemingly echoing the noises coming from the Emirates) is obviously expecting more from his country’s most high profile sportsman.
Arseblog News fully expects Arshavin to sign for Zenit, although whether Gazidis and Wenger can squeeze a better price for him this summer (assuming nothing was put in paper in January) will largely depend on the player’s performances at Euro 2012.
In other news, it was reported yesterday by the BBC that Mikel Arteta could get himself a pay rise after a successful first season at the Emirates.
While the Twittersphere got its knickers in a twist about a player asking for more money, you can’t help but think this was something agreed to by the Arsenal hierarchy on deadline day last August as the club rushed through the Spaniard’s signing.
Given the haphazard nature we went about our business, it’s fairly easy to assume that a few corners were cut (and that agents pushed through certain details for review) as the clock ticked down. You only have to look at the complete confusion over Ju Young Park’s military service for further evidence of the madcap way we threw cash around.
UPDATE – We’ve removed the line about his contract being more lucrative at Arsenal than Everton…Cheers.