Andrei Arshavin has clearly fallen down the pecking order at Arsenal, and as the Russian’s contract expires this summer, he looks set to leave the Emirates, with his former club Zenit St. Petersburg reportedly interested in his services.
Arsene Wenger faced one of the toughest challenges of his career when Robin van Persie, who gradually became the face of the club, left for Manchester United last season. With Theo Walcott and Gervinho not firing on all cylinders, Wenger brought in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud as possible successors for the Dutch attacker. Arshavin’s career at Arsenal came to a standstill after last season. When Wenger was looking for a striker to step up to the mark and be counted, Arshavin did not live up to the expectations and inconsistency led to him being perpetually dropped this season.
Arshavin has played just seven Barclays Premier League matches this season, and failed to open his goal account. It seems highly unlikely that the Gunners will offer the player a new deal considering he is 31 years old. He is the second-oldest player in the squad, a stat that suggests that if an older player does not perform, he is likely to be sold. This also synchronizes with Wenger’s youth policy, giving players like 19-year old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a chance to improve.
Zenit was the club where Arshavin began his career in 2000. Eight years later, the striker was one of Russia’s best performers in the Euro 2008, and this gave Arsenal the impetus to fend off other suitors and sign the Russian international on a long-term deal. He made a good start to his career at London, and was a regular for two seasons, before he was sent on a half year-loan back to Zenit last season.
According to SkySports, Zenit’s head coach Luciano Spalletti has hinted that Arshavin could be brought in as a free transfer this summer.
Spalletti said, “We do our job and do what we’re expected to do and our aim is to be useful for the team.”
“If Arshavin is the man who can add anything for this then we can think about him. Andrei is interesting for everyone in Russia because he’s a charismatic player.”