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by Zain Shahid

arshavin-shirt12008_011

Arshavin set to wear the no.13 shirt at Arsenal

One of longest running and most annoying tranfer sagas has apparently come to an end! Arshavin is now a Gunner! The only thing left is for the Premier League officials to sign the paperwork to make the deal official. All Gooners can now breathe a sigh of relief. According to different sources the Russian has cost £10m or £12m. So it is nearly half the price of £20m that Zenit had initially demanded. To add to that the forward has taken a £20,000 pay cut, came to London on deadline day on his private jet and the trip cost him £25,000 and paid Zenit half of his signing on fee. Just shows how much the guy wanted to join Arsenal (or leave Zenit!). So at £10m or £12m, the playmaker should be a bargain considering how much quality he has.

Zenit St. Petersburg’s manager Dick Advocaat believes Arsenal have made a wonderful bargain deal which will do wonders for them. He said:

“Arsenal don’t realise just how good a player Andrei Arshavin is. He’ll be a sensation in England. He’s worth more than they have paid.”

Every manager knows his player best so if that’s what Advocaat thinks of Arshavin, then we will take his opinion!

Former Arsenal player Paul Merson agrees with Advocaat and says:

“He will fit in to Arsenal perfectly. He’s a good little player, he’s got a great football brain and would slot straight into the pass-and-move way. He might not be what Arsenal need specifically, but they just need players right now. He is a top player.”

After all that happened in January with first the reluctance of Zenit to lower the asking price, then the reluctance of Wenger to even pay the lowered price and then when all seemed to be going right Arshavin’s wage demands seemed to put the deal in scrutiny but all’s well that ends well! We have got the deal and that’s all that matters! May Arshavin forge a successful career at Arsenal and lead Arsenal to new heights; and most of all, win trophies!

Correction: According to Arshavin, he will be wearing the number 23 shirt and not number 13. So never mind the picture!

by Zain Shahid

Arshavin - A gunner?

Arshavin - A gunner?

Arshavin has been shown on Sky Sports at the airport in London. The Russian was wearing bermuda shorts *laughs*. The deal was being negotiated in St. Petersburg so there was no reason for Arshavin to come to London unless the deal is 99% done. So as it seems Arshavin should be a Gunner in the next few hours. Arsene Wenger is renowned to pull off deadline day miracles and this one might be just another one of those. The recent list comprising Gallas, Diarra and Silvestre might now have another addition!

However there is a twist in the tale. Sky Sports claim Wenger has refused to accept Arshavin’s wage demands so the forward’s trip to London goes in vain. This news seems a load of crap to me. Wouldn’t Wenger know what Arshavin was demanding from the start rather than if this idiotic story is to be believed he has only been told of Arshavin’s wage demands now?!! This is worth a laugh. Why the hell would he specially come to London if Wenger seemed reluctant to give him the wages he wanted?!! So as I mentioned earlier, he wouldn’t be mad enough to come to London for no reason. The deal should ‘almost’ be completed by now and I am hoping for the big pleasant surprise within the next 5 6 hours!

Wenger meanwhile has warned Arsenal fans not to expect too much from Arshavin straight away. The Frenchman said:

“We don’t need an instant saviour. I don’t believe in them. There’s always a danger because people always want a wonder man. But I believe we have to keep going, and accept that the expectation level on him would be very high if he joins us.”

So I expect (or maybe ‘hope’) him to join and that the Sky Sports news regarding the deal being off is a piece of s***

by Zain Shahid

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Arshavin - Ready to run to Arsenal!:P

Sky Sports have claimed that Arsenal have secured a work permit for Andrei Arshavin with the Russian star almost inevitable to join Arsenal. However, Arsene Wenger has entirely denied the news, saying that not only have they not secured the work permit but that they haven’t even applied for it yet.

“We have not applied for a work permit yet for anybody. Not for Arshavin and not for anybody else.”

But that does in any way mean the deal is down, Negotiations still continue and Wenger remains confident. But Zenit and Arshavin will have to accept stubborn Wenger’s terms for the transfer to take place. The Arsenal manager stated:

“Close does not have a lot of meaning. It doesn’t matter how close you are, what matters is that you agree. At the moment we have no agreement with Zenit about a transfer. We are always confident, we try our best and respect our budget and if we can find an agreement we do it. We will not overspend what we have planned to do. When you go for a player it is because you want him. That is part of the decision. After that part of the negotiation is finding an agreement. “

No new news there.

Wenger - Not too pleased...

Wenger - Not too pleased...

And its not only us Gooners who are sick of January tranfer window, Wenger is also sick of it! The Frenchman has always been vocal of his criticism of the timing of the January and has previously suggested that either the transfer window be open all year or just in summer. Having a transfer window makes no sense and all it does is unsettle players. Arsene has once again come out, possibly getting sick of the Arshavin saga now, and lashed out at the pointless transfer window:

“I do not like the January window. It seems to be more about players who might come in other than the ones you already have. It is not a great help. Some players are cup tied and cannot play certain competitions. If a player moves to another Premier League club, then why should he not be cup-tied in the Premier League [like he would be in Europe]? The logic [with the transfer window] is not right. It should be cut completely or be able to run freely throughout the season.”

Wenger is one of a host of managers who are against the January transfer window which is why the FA might also discuss the topic and make a decision on it.

by Zain Shahid

This season has been one of the worst in Arsene Wenger’s career at Arsenal and when you look at the trend with Arsenal’s points tally and performances overall improving since the last 3 seasons, this season has come as a big unpleasant surprise. The big question in everyone’s mind is what has gone wrong this season.

Arsenal miss their partnership
Arsenal miss their partnership

The main reason in most people’s minds would be the departures of Flamini and Gilberto. They were our main holding midfielders and who would not agree to the fact that Flamini was one of our best players of the season, second only to Fabregas. With their departures we have had to play on most ocassions without a holding player or sometimes with Song in that role and everyone knows he is just not good enough to be in our first team. And the fact that Wenger has been more interested in signing Arshavin than a defensive midfielder came as a big surprise to me. (Talking of Arshavin, Zenit have said they are waiting for a reply from Arsenal as negotiations continue; and Wenger has said he wants the deal done before the match against West Ham.) We know there has been a lack of clean sheets this season and it can be blamed on the lack of a natural holding midfielder in the side rather than putting all the blame on Gallas and Toure. But to add to that the lack of defensive cover has also been a big factor. When Gallas and Toure have been out, the far from convincing Silvestre has come to fill in or the inconsistent Djourou. If Arsenal fail to keep a clean sheet against West Ham tomorrow then they will have just 15 clean sheets so far whereas last season in the same period they had 20 and we have conceded 35 goals so far compared to 28 last year at this time.

One of the most creative midfielders Arsenal has had in recent times
One of the most creative midfielders Arsenal has had in recent times

Another reason is Hleb’s departure and with it his creativity that pierced defences open. Ok Hleb did not score as much as he should have but he was exceptionally talented when it comes to creativity. I’ll be honest, I miss Hleb. Some might say Nasri has been a great replacement and I agree, especially considering he scores a lot. But the problem lies in piercing defences open, creating a lot of chances rather than passing sideways all match. Nasri can do the job but he can’t play up to the level he is capable of on the left. Last year Hleb was played as a second striker and he was brilliant there, I see no reason why isn’t Nasri played there too. He has showed with his few performances in the centre how good he can be and especially with Fabregas out he is needed there.

Not good enough...
Not good enough…

Then comes the lack of support Fabregas got in the centre and lack of quality in midfield. This really does not need much explanation. We all know Song has been hopeless and Denilson can’t defend so Fabregas has had to worry more about tracking back rather than doing his job i.e ripping apart defences with his exceptional passing. On the wing we have seen Denilson, Diaby and Eboue. All have not played up to the mark. Imagine for instance if Denilson was in AC Milan, or Barcelona or Manchester United. Would he be in their first team? Noway! He is not good enough to be in the first team of a top European club. Same goes for Song, Diaby and Eboue. We have been just waiting and waiting and waiting for them to come of age. Will they ever be good enough? Doesn’t seem so does it?! Especially Eboue. I have always mantained he should be sold and replaced with a natural, world class winger and I stand by it.

Gone... And injured
Gone… And injured

A lot might say injuries have been the biggest setback this season. Imagine Rosicky on the left, Fabregas in the centre, Walcott on the right, Nasri supporting van Persie and Adebayor. With a defensive midfielder this attack can be the best in the world but poor us, all these guys are hardly fit together. But the point is players get long-term injuries like we have seen with van Persie in the past, now Rosicky is still out, Eduardo is coming back, Walcott and Fabregas still out; these injuries are not going to happen every year will they. That’s what everyone said of van Persie when he got injured time and time again but they were wrong. He has showed his fitness and class. He has been our player of the season so far. So if the aforementioned players remain fit, Arsenal are a side to be feared by all European power houses. They may be injured now, but they won’t be out for 3 4 months every season, hopefully not next season.

These reasons have led to defensive frailty and lack of creativity up front. Right now it’s just van Persie keeping Arsenal in the fight for the title, even though with all the poor results we have got this season and where we lie in the table at the moment thinking of winning the season seems quite unrealistic. This season looks like a fight for a Champions League place and not the title. The only very dim hope remaining is that van Persie contines the form of his life and with Nasri, keeps getting decent results for Arsenal till Fabregas and Walcott return. That might be the turning point of the season if Arsenal are still in the race for the title when the duo make their comebacks.

by Zain Shahid

Wenger - Admits Arshavin deal is 90% done

Wenger - Admits Arshavin deal is 90% done

Arsene Wenger has finally admitted that negotiations with Zenit over Arshavin are in their final stages. So far Wenger had been tight-lipped whenever questioned about the progress on signing him, however finally the Arsenal manager accepts that Arsenal seem close to signing the Russian. Wenger said in the post Everton match interview:

“There is nothing new, because today I have been focused on the game, and I did not pick up any phone calls so nothing has happened. It was 90 per cent that I will be able to give you more in the next two days. Remember in this job the other 10 per cent can be more important than the other 90 because people can change their mind quickly.”

So as we were told by Zenit, it seems Arshavin’s wage demands are the only obstacle to the transfer. Hope he makes the right decision and agrees to Arsenal’s terms!

The goal that rescued a point

The goal that rescued a point

Meanwhile Arsenal made a great escape at Goodison Park and manage to come out with a point. It seemed Arsenal’s little unbeaten run was going to end, but the Gunners showed great character and in injury time with around a minute remaining, van Persie scored a gem of a goal. Some might say its two points dropped and some will say its a point gained. As the season progresses we might get to know how costtly these two points can be or how helpful the point may be. Right now what everyone will be looking at is that Arsenal are now 5 points outside the top four, and 8 points adrift of the leaders, who also have a game in hand. So the situation looks grave. To hope of winning the title now, seems more and more unrealistic. Lets hope we see better performances and results in the FA Cup and Champions League.

by Zain Shahid

Arshavin - Getting greedy now...

Arshavin - Getting greedy now...

Zenit St. Petersburg have finally accepted Arsenal’s offer, though it is less than their asking price. One would think the deal is all but done now considering Arshavin himself wanted to come to Arsenal and repeatedly showed his disgust at Zenit’s high pricing of him. Yet just when it seemed its nearing an end, another crisis shows up. Now its Arshavin’s turn to frustrate and annoy all us Gooners. Zenit claim they have told Arshavin they are now ready to sell him to Arsenal, but the Russian’s wage demands are too high; high enough not to be accepted by Arsene Wenger at least. Zenit general director Maxim Mitrofanov frowned:

“I worry the deal might not be done. I hope he can find a compromise but he wants too much money from Arsenal. I’ve told him we are ready but it is his decision. Is it his dream or is it just a question of money?”

So Arshavin has a big choice to make now as Mitrofanov says. He surely wants to leave Zenit, and I don’t think there is enough time now left in the transfer window for another club to come in and hijack the move. So either he will stay at Zenit and probably leave for another club, not Arsenal, in the summer or he will make a compromise and choose to move to Arsenal now. There is no third option for him at the moment it seems. He’d better make the choice soon.

Meanwhile Wenger insists there will be no excpetion to the club’s strict wage structure. The Frenchman sternly said:

“The players who come in here are all on our wage structure or they do not come in. It’s as simple as that. Nobody will come in above the highest level we have here.”

Now that is a strong statement for Arshavin! Wenger mentions here that nobody will come in above the highest level that we have here which is Fabregas who according to my information earns 90k. So if Arshavin agrees to this sum or even 85k, I think that should put him nearly on par with what he was earning at Zenit. He just needs to settle for round about the same what he was earning there rather than expect a huge pay rise.

The chances of the deal being completed are no doubt decreasing every passing day, but still there remains a ‘slight’ chance!

by Zain Shahid

Arshavin

Arshavin

Hours after an official statement made by Zenit claimed that a deal had nearly been agreed upon by the two clubs regarding the transfer of Andrei Arshavin, Wenger denies their claim.

Arsene Wenger known to be very silent on transfer matters, and does not accept much till the deal is 100% done has outrightly denied the news saying:

“[That is] not true. In this job ‘far’ doesn’t mean a lot. I believe that we are not close to concluding any transfer, Arshavin or anybody else. I don’t know [if it will happen] frankly. Time is getting short and at the moment I am more focused to win the game tomorrow. We know we are in front of a big game and the most important thing is to focus on that. I am only responsible for the statements we make and I cannot be responsible for the statements that other clubs make. Zenit look to have different voices coming out of the club and I’m not sure if it always the official voice. I believe what I see and what I hear directly.”

So we experience ecstasy and anguish in the same day! This is getting more and more annoying day by day. One one hand we are told the deal is almost done and on the other we are told that its nowhere near to be concluded as yet. This is is really frustrating I am sure for all Gooners. I think now we should not pay much heed to any such statements made by either side and rather wait for an official statement from Arsenal.com whenever, and if, the deal is done. Otherwise life goes on, whether he comes or not does not make too big a difference. What makes a difference is our attitude towards him not coming. If we say ok he is not coming and now we are doomed and we are not going to win anything and stuff like that then expect another trophyless season. But if we are optimistic and say it doesn’t matter if he is coming or not then just wait and see and the trophy will come! The fans attitude shapes the seasons of  all teams.The point is we are playing well without him right now and so there is no reason why we can’t continue this way. Especially when Fabregas and Walcott wil return, it will be like two huge signings much better than Arshavin. So I would advise, get over Arshavin now! It doesn’t seem like he is coming.

by Zain Shahid

Arshavin - His Future Lies With Arsenal! Maybe!

Arshavin - His Future Lies With Arsenal! Maybe!

Ok, we have been seening such headlines for quite some time now but this time it seems more true than before! Even though the so-called deadline given by Zenit to Arsenal to accept their pricing of the player has crossed but the clubs finally seem to have reached an agreement as negotiations continued. Zenit released an official statement regarding the deal, hinting that a transfer fee has been agreed. The statement read:

“The fundamental understanding over the transfer of the player is achieved between the clubs. At the moment the basic obstacle in realisation of the transaction is Andrei Arshavin’s personal requirements.”

The fact that the transfer has nearly been agreed upon by Zenit is nearly enough to suggest that Arshavin might be a Gunner very soon considering the Russian himself has expressed his desire to join Arsenal. Hence his personal requirements should not be too big a hurdle. The club may have made this statement but Arshavin has not been imformed about it it seems as the forward waits for the decision made by his club of his future. Arshavin told Sport Express:

“I’m waiting for a final decision. The talks don’t depend on me. I haven’t been in touch with the club management, so I haven’t heard a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ yet.”

Never mind this. He will certainly be informed of a ‘YES!’ very soon so that he can ask for his terms for the contract.

Well, after the previous statement by Zenit, this news comes as a pleasant surprise! I was dumbfounded! All I can say is yayyyy!:D

by Zain Shahid

Arshavin - Wont be a Gunner now it seems

Arshavin - Wont be a Gunner now it seems

Zenit St. Petersburg’s stubborn officials will now be hated by Gooners all over the world! Arsenal have constantly been negotiating with them over Arshavin but their sky-high demands are too artificial to be accepted by Arsenal. Wenger is not stupid. He will never pay an amount for a player which the player is not worth. Arsenal have a good squad and if Zenit are not going to lower their stupid demands then so be it. Zenit’s general director, Maksim Mitrofanov, told Sport Express:

“If Arsenal don’t accept our terms, then Arshavin will not be sold to them. In any case this will be resolved by Saturday evening. Arshavin may still end up in England. Several other clubs are interested in him, who haven’t yet issued an official approach, but who are ready to do so.”

I hate these people. Even though there is still a *tiny* chance of signing him, but lets be realistic, it is not going to happen now. Arshavin was needed badly I thought but now that he is not going to come, lets move on. We still have a decent squad and when Fabregas and Walcott will return it will be a much more than just decent squad. And also with a few days still remaining till the February 2nd deadline, Arsene should turn his attentions to some other quality player now, preferably in the mould of Arshavin. The fact that he is not coming, after all the signs that he will eventually end up at Arsenal, seems like a player has left Arsenal even though he was never here! That’s why I like transfer negotiations and all to be done quietly without any media coverage.

As for these ignorant freaks of Zenit, if they expect other clubs to pay their overly high price for Arshavin, then they are the most stupid persons in the world! I guess they don’t live in this world which is going through an economic recession so they expect clubs to slash out stupid cash. The guy wants to come to a club and they are treating him like a slave by not allowing him to go there. The EU should sue them! I hope Arshavin buys out his contract which will be worse for Zenit than accepting Arsenal’s offer for him! According to FIFA’s Article 17 footballers can break their contract once a ‘protected period’ has expired. For those younger than 28 when they signed their contract, they must be three years into their deal. The player must pay a compensation fee to the club. So if Arshavin happens to use it, Zenit will get a much lesser amount of money than they would had they accepted Arsenal’s bid! Lets hope it happens!

To be honest I would want Wenger to pay the one or two extra million that they are asking for because it would be so hard to get over the fact that he will not join Arsenal! Especially because I don’t expect him to buy another player now. 😦 Can someone pass me the tissue paper please? 😥

by Zain Shahid

Arshavin - Is either coming to Arsenal or is not! lol!

Arshavin - Is either coming to Arsenal or is not! lol!

The day started with seemingly good news for Gooners. Reports suggested that Zenit have agreed to sell Arshavin to Arsenal for £15m, which was to be received in installments over two years. Then later a Russian TV Channel also gave the breaking news that the two clubs have finally reached a deal. But soon after this breakout of news, Zenit Radio rubbished it all claiming that Arsenal’s improved bid of £15m has also been rejected by Zenit. However, they say negotiations still continue. Ivan Glazidis and Ken Friar are still in St. Petersburg. Arsene Wenger knows Arsenal need him badly so he is going all out after him. He has now even indirectly admitted that Arshavin is the only player they will buy if they buy someone. But there has been some bad news quoted by Peter Hill-Wood (though I am not sure of its authenticity). He said:

“This is our final offer. We do not intend to continue to raise the sum. If we do not purchase Arshavin, then so be it.”

Arsene Wenger too has been making comments so as to making Gooners ready for the bad news if Arshavin is not signed. He said:

“You have to accept that in the transfer market, sometimes you go for a player and that sometimes it happens, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. But I am very happy with the squad I have and will only add someone who can give us something special. For the rest I have good players and believe strongly in them. Should we not get what we want, we will accept it as well because I believe we are strong enough with what we have. We are not close to signing anybody else, but what I see in training is a very determined team of top quality.”

Sounds fishy doesn’t it? It’s as if he has accepted that Arsenal might not be able to get Arshavin. I am suddenly losing hope on Arshavin now. It now seems it will be a tranfer-less January for Arsenal (excluding the loan moves).

But for the optimistic Gooners, notice that the claim by Zenit radio is not an official statement. So officially the bid has not been rejected yet. Lets have high hopes then:D