By Richard Popple
With reports suggesting that Arsenal will push hard to sign the Russian playmaker, Arsenal fans across the world will be delighted by this potentially exciting news. Samir Nasri is apparently travelling to London today although an official confirmation of his transfer may still be days away even if he passes the medical.
Nasri alone would be a great signing, but the prospect of having him and Arshavin is mouth-watering to say the least. Having seen Arshavin play for Zenit St Petersburg a few times and obviously a few times for Russia as well, including a brilliant performance in last night’s win against Sweden, there is no doubt he would be a major coup for Wenger’s boys. He is a very creative player with more of an eye for a goal than the likes of Rosicky and Hleb. The latter looks very likely to leave and really needs to hurry up and make a decision one way or the other. It’s been reported that Arsenal want £20 million for Hleb (which they will not get), but if he does go, Arshavin would be a fantastic replacement.
Guus Hiddink has lavished praise on Arshavin recently, saying he has been the best player he has ever coached. Coming from a man with Hiddink’s CV and reputation that is high praise indeed. So when will Arsene strike? Probably the moment Russia make their exit from Euro 2008. Wenger will hope that will happen against the Dutch this weekend, so that Arshavin’s price tag can’t inflate further. He has already made enquires over Arshavin’s availability to Dick Advocatt, Zenit’s coach. Earlier in the summer, Zenit made it clear that Arshavin could leave if the transfer was wrapped up quickly. The player himself has said that Arsenal or Chelsea would be his preferred choice in England. He will not be joining the likes of Newcastle or Spurs, because Champions league football is already assured with Zenit, so a move to either of the London giants looks most likely.
The fact that Russia and Zenit play quick passing, technical football, suggests that he would be more suited to Arsenal than Chelsea. Also Chelsea are reportedly looking to add Deco to their Ranks, who plays in a similar position to Arshavin, which adds doubts to him choosing the Bridge.
Of course caution must prevail when it comes to transfer rumours, but there is something about the Russian joining Arsenal that makes sense. Let’s hope Wenger is already working on the transfer behind closed doors. I sincerely hope we see Fabregas, Nasri and Ashavin running Arsenal’s midfield next year.