When did Russia forward Andrei Arshavin become worth Ã‚Â£20million? That is the amount Zenit St Petersburg are allegedly expecting to receive for his sale.
Arshavin has dealt a blow to any Premier League clubs who may be after him, rumoured to be Arsenal and Chelsea, after a spokesman from his current club announced that he only wants to play for Barcelona.
The Zenit spokesman told the BBC, “Arshavin wants to move to Barcelona. He doesn’t want to play anywhere else. Barcelona have made an offer but we are still negotiating with them. I don’t know when a decision will be made but I think Arshavin will leave the club.”
It could be that Barca would like to take Arshavin but are not interested at the silly money that Zenit manager Dick Advocaat is looking for. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t blame Advocaat and those at Zenit for trying to make the most money they can when the golden boy inevitably leaves, but Ã‚Â£20million?
Arshavin scored twice during Euro 2008 after missing the first two games because of suspension. He then excelled in the wins against Sweden and Holland, deservedly being awarded the man of the match award in both games. Unfortunately for him and Russia, he was anonymous in the semi-final defeat to Spain.
Arshavin is twenty-seven years old. He has been a player at Zenit St Petersburg for eight years, making his first team debut back in 2000. He has made thirty-seven appearances for Russia over the six years he has represented his country.
Is it really only ZenitÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s run in the Uefa cup, together with two, admittedly brilliant, performances that have changed this player from someone that nobody had ever heard of into one of the most sought after and highly rated players in the world?
It has been agreed that Arshavin wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play for Zenit whilst he considers his future. Advocaat told the BBC, “It’s a joint decision. Better put, I told him he shouldn’t play and he agreed.”
I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really see Advocaat as a man who goes in for joint decisions. He reminds me of the legendary Brian Clough who once said that if a player disagreed with him they went into his office, discussed it for a short while until the player agreed that Clough was right and then he would allow the player to go!
The point I am making about Arshavin is that I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe that clubs like Barcelona would be prepared to spend this sort of money on a player based on a handful of games.
There are only four possibilities. The first is that Arshavin was not very good until this season and at the age of twenty-seven, has suddenly become a great player. Unlikely.
The second is that clubs have been tracking him for months and years just waiting to make their move. Unlikely, because if they had made their move prior to those two games in the Euros he would have been a whole lot cheaper.
The third possibility is that he is a player who has simply slipped through the scouting net for a few years. It is surely unthinkable that a player playing regular first-team football anywhere in Europe is able to avoid the detection of the highly paid scouts in every country representing all of the top clubs.
That means that the fourth possibility must be the most likely. Is it possible that Arshavin has been watched several times in the past by coaches and scouts and not done enough to entice the big clubs to part with any cash? Is it actually possible that prior to the Euros nobody was particularly interested in signing him, but on the strength of two great performances they are now prepared to contemplate paying Ã‚Â£20million for him?
If Barcelona do turn out to be the club who make this purchase which would have to be described as a gamble, does anyone else think that it seems like a desperate president trying to placate the fans after a difficult season by buying the current world superstar?
For all I know, Arshavin may go to Barcelona and be an absolute revelation. He may be player of the season and score forty goals. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if that is likely because I think I have only seen him play about six times. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember him in the first two of those, he was OK in the third, very good in the fourth, brilliant in the fifth and poor in the sixth.
I just canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe that Pep Guardiola has pleaded with his board to break the bank to get Arshavin at the club because he is the answer to their problems.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sorry but I simply donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand why Barcelona would want to risk that sort of money on a player who has been around for many years but has probably multiplied twenty times in value on the basis of two games.
Maybe somebody who has seen more of him play can explain why he is so good and why a club like Barca should pay so much for him?
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