Andrei Arshavin. Andrei Arshavin. Andrei Andrei Arshavin, Andrei Arshavin, Andrei Andrei Arshavin. Is there really anything else worth talking about?
The big news of today/yesterday is that Arsenal have agreed a deal with Zenit St Petersburg for You Know Who (and no, I don’t mean Voldemort). However, there is one teensy-weensy catch; it’s yet to be confirmed by the Football Association.
You see, the ridiculous amount of snow that fell and continues to fall on England meant that the transfer window deadline was extended beyond the original 5pm on February 2nd until the same time today. Reliable sources from The Guardian suggest that the Arshavin transfer was completed beyond the February 2nd deadline but well before the February 3rd one (obviously). As a result, all Arsenal are waiting for is confirmation from the FA that the deal was legitimate before they announce the signing.
Confused? Then I’d encourage you to read this delightful summary from Gunnerblog of the ins and outs of yesterday’s proceedings. It’s really quite a remarkable read, not only because of what conspired but because GilbertoSilver was able to put it into words that actually make sense.
What this all means is that save for a technical #@%&-up of monumental proportions, Andrei Arshavin is now an Arsenal player. And as such, I’m not even going to wait from confirmation from the official Arsenal website before I write about exactly what he will bring to our squad.
In my eyes Arshavin is as close to the ideal signing for this Arsenal squad. Forget a centre-back (Johan Djourou has solved this issue), forget a defensive-midfielder (Alex Song is good enough here), with Cesc Fabregas out we lack creative midfield players with the experience and attitude to create openings in games where the other team just won’t allow it, something that Arshavin will absolutely provide.
People will point to the fact that he’s only played in the Russian League or that he was marked out of the Euro 2008 semi-final by Spain, but that’s ignoring the outrageous talent that this guy is on his day. At 27 he is at his peak and with Arsenal as his first ‘big club’ he will have huge motivation to prove himself as a top-class player.
The physicality and harsh conditions of the Russian League will mean he will not need time to adapt to England, while the recent winter-break in Russia should mean his body is nice and fresh. In other words, he looks perfectly poised to make an immediate impact on this Arsenal side. And what an impact this guy could make.
I mentioned in the review of the Everton game that I felt this Arsenal midfield lacked leadership, that the obvious talents of Alex Song, Denilson and Abou Diaby were being too-heavily relied upon without having proper leaders to guide them on the pitch. And while Arshavin might not be a leader in the conventional sense, everything I have seen from him for Zenit and the Russian national team suggests he is the type of player who has confidence in abundance and leads by example, similar to someone like Zinedine Zidane. As such, his influence could be invaluable as the season wears on.
In terms of his place in the team, I would expect Arshavin to be used either as a right-winger in a 4-4-2 or as the most advanced attacking-midfielder when the manager opts for 4-5-1. His defensive abilities are not his strength, the real value will be his ability locate passes and shots that others in the squad cannot.
If you can’t already tell, I’m extremely excited about this transfer. I was absolutely delighted at the prospect of Arshavin joining before the start of the season and that delight has not faded. He is a class player who will add exactly what we need to a squad that is struggling to score goals.
And that’s all I want to say really, other than that I will update the blog once the signing of Arshavin is finally confirmed. I’m sure it will make a lot of people happy.
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