Some thoughts on what Arshavin will bring to Arsenal

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Andrei Arshavin is now (almost) an Arsenal playerAndrei 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.


Have your say on the signing of Andrei Arshavin by leaving a comment.


57 thoughts on “Some thoughts on what Arshavin will bring to Arsenal

  1. i think most arsenal fans throughout the world r happy with the news if not all. however, i still think he needs time to adjust to a very different level of league altogether. considering he has not played since november last year, his fitness/sharpness maybe seriously in question but player of his quality will surely gets fit faster, at least i hope so. probably we can only witness him in red & white a month after today.

  2. Agree with all you said. The thing being overlooked here is the team confidence he will give us. Immedietly everyone will be worried about their spot and will notch up their performances… The drop in form IMO is just as much to do with our loss of confidence against Tottenham than it is to losing our key players. Arshavin should give us a morale, and a focus boost, and the results should show right away. I told you a few months ago there would be a signing because it is the smart thing to do. Thats what Wenger does, the smartest thing for the club, every single time…

  3. Here’s the new chant – spread the word! (To the tune of Hosanna in Excelsis)

    Ahhh Ahhh Ahh Ahh Ahhhh Ahhh Ahhhhhh, Ahhhh Ahhh Ahhh Ahhh Ahhh Arrrrrrshavin, Arshavin in excelsis!

  4. Oh and the other thing being overlooked is just how good he is… If the numbers I am hearing are correct this could be one of the greatest robberies ever. This man was 10th on the list of World Player of the Year, while playing in a physical Russian league where he was undoubtedly the focus of every defense…

  5. The coming of Arshavin is a step in the right direction. However, a tree can not make a forest, we need to bring flamini back and another good goalkeeper, alumnia is just below average for a team like arsenal. Man u is where they are today because of van da sar. Wenger should swallow his pride and bring flamini back on loan.

  6. cool arshavin, it’s an great addition….but i dont agree with spanishfry…on ur view of song being fit in there…..

  7. Yes SF, this is indeed a great signing, especially if the fee of £10m plus £2m on achievements is correct. You’re spot on about raising everyone’s morale by signing a world class player. In my opinion, only Fabregas fell into this category at our club before this. Arshavin will give attacking options, and can provide the vision and imagination to unlock the negative tactics we’ve seen so often from opposing teams this season. I must strongly disagree with you that this is all we need though. The lack of a defensive midfielder is still a massive problem for us. Yes, Alex Song has come on well this year, but he should be deputising for a first choice experienced quality DM. I was hoping that AW would pull another signing out of the hat at the last minute. We’ll look more dangerous going forward now, but we still look extremely vulnerable without adequate protection for the back four.

  8. I loved the report from one of the agents involved in the deal during an interview on Talksport last night, where he said that Arshavin was walking around the Emirates pitch in the snow wearing an Arsenal top as if he was a fan. Brilliant.

    Spurs better watch out:

    Sagna – Djourou – Gallas – Clichy
    Arshavin – Denilson – Song – Nasri
    RvP – Ade

  9. True, thats still one area of weakness. But i believe that our back four can effectively take part of the responsibility. Our current run of form in the EPL (conceding 2 in 6) is a testament to that. Also, the fact that we have the added attacking prowess of Arshavin will force most teams to revert to a defensive style of play, decreasing our chances of conceding goals.

  10. In a few weeks:

    Sagna – Djourou – Gallas – Clichy
    Walcott – Denilson – Nasri – Arshavin
    RvP – Ade

    And Arshavin can play second striker as can Walcott… Will be interesting to see how the boss plays it out…

  11. Great piece SF. I totally agree with you. Many fans dont realise that we’ve landed one of the best players in the world for a very low price. He is a great addition to the team and out style of play will suit him well.

    Our new look midfield

    I cant wait for Sunday’s match!

  12. good signing….. he can bamboozle many defenses………. hope he adopt quickly the “English Game”…

  13. Geo, we’ve conceded 4 goals in the last 6 EPL matches (1 vs Everton, 1 vs Hull, 2 vs Villa), but you still have a point – I feel that we are struggling more going forward than defending these days…

    Arshavin will hopefully help in that regard, and even though the DMC spot is a weakness, I think signing Arshavin was more important now that we’re without Cesc and Walcott. Hopefully Denilson/Song (or my dream; Toure!) can cope with that position until the summer – and then we can re-assess our defensive priorities.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see us sign a DMC as well, in fact nothing would please me more – but at this moment and in this economical climate (in which we can’t bring in lots of expensive players) I feel that prioritising an expensive Arshavin was the right thing to do.

    Hope to see him in action already on Sunday against the scum!

  14. If there is any comment to make, saying b,cause this transfer saga of Arshavin of a thing has really leave me gasping for breath cause i’ve waited for too long a time for the confirmation of the signing.

    As i said earlier if there deal has finally gone thru, then as a Gooner, it calls for celebration cause i know that flair that we lack due to the injuries of Rosicky and Fabregas has return in person of Andrei.

    If Wenger has finally pen a deal for him, then he has given me a relieve from the hectic thinking and fury of being humiliated by small teams like Westham, Fulhma, Stock, Hull etc.

    Cheers (Gunners! for Life)

  15. Berrern, good awareness… what i meant was conceding 2 in 6 at home!!!! 🙂
    I think he will add an attacking flair that was sorely missed when fab got injured. But theres still a point of concern, will he have the same problem as fabregas in terms of going forward when behind him guarding the back 4 was denilson?!??! I still think thats the missing piece of the puzzle… Hopefully we will get by (i.e. at least 4th place)temporarily until the summer when he gets the right person for the position.

  16. The biggest bonus for Arshavin is his ability to run passed players and beat defenders. Hleb was particularly good at this and although he didn’t score many goals he did his far share of creation.

  17. Yep it’s done. Officially. At last.

    Is he going to be match fit? Probably not. He could have used a training session today.

  18. YEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS, Thank God for that. I was waiting waiting and then went to and then i see the pretty boy. ha ha
    Now this is more like it, nasri, ash, cesc, theo, and when rosiky comes back, whooo hoo gunners can you feel it????? i caaann

  19. As much as AW likes to play a 4-5-1 in away CL matches, I wouldn’t mind seeing this line-up.




    With Bendtner, Ade and Vela on the bench to provide a more offensive shuffle if need be late on in the game. I’m not a huge fan of the 4-5-1, but if AW is going to use it, like he has, I think Arshavin will give us more offensive support in such a lineup. Plus, with the (hopeful) return of Rosicky and Fabregas, I think our middle should be more than adequate.

    I have been one of those calling for a new DM and even a new center half. But it has been pointed out that our gaa is that much higher than it was in our championship seasons. Our goals scored, however, is dramatically lower. The vital thing now is to recapture a spot in the top 4 so we don’t lose more players over the summer. That would be a tragedy that could possibly take many years to remedy. With any luck (and a bit of optimism), Arsenal could have enough players healthy to win two trophies. FA Cup and CL (get on your knees though cuz that one will take an awful lot of answered prayers).

    As for Almunia, he’s a suitable interim keeper. As in, he’ll do until we find someone to come in to the brilliance Lehman showed in top form. While I am not one to believe Arshavin to be a saviour, his arrival does make me very hopeful for the future. He increases our chances for the FA cup this season and with healthy (fingers crossed) players next season, Arsenal will have quite the formidable line-up

    @SF – I still don’t see what you see in Song. He has some promise and may even be our answer at DM. But not now. He is just not ready. He needs more time to grow as a player and bringing in a proper DM over the summer would give us space to send him on loan somewhere to gain that experience.

  20. Yes! We have now officially signed Arshavin, after all the waiting and wondering. I think that he is just what we need, and will really give us a different element in the attacking third. Hs final ball is top class, something we have been lacking even since rosicky was injured and hleb left, with Nasri doing brilliantly yet not taking control of games as I envisage him doing in the future.

    Also his signing may galvanise the squad and get us playing really well again. Great comments about the CB & DM problems Spanish, i think you summed it up really well.

    Lastly, he won’t be eligible for the Latter stages of the Champions LEague though, will he?

  21. I have been waiting all day for the confirmation. I go downstairs for a while and then my friends rings me telling me the good news. I am very excited, We have Nasri and Arshavin fit atm, but we will hav a great midfield when Tomas, Cesc and Theo all return. Im not sure a CDM will be needed once we have a fully fit squad. Deni, Song and Diaby cannot be the midfield of a title chasing team they can be subs if a title chasing team tho. In the Summer, GK, DEF and Fwds. Although Jay Simpson playing well. Hope he plays against Spuds, if he scores past them. INSTANT LEGEND. Spuds paid 14 mil for Palacios, 15 for Defoe, 12 for Keano. we bought a player than them 3 for 10 mil plus 2 mil add ons. ARSHAVIN!

  22. Arshavin’s final words in his first interview with the club (can be seen if you have an Arsenal Online subscription):

    Trust in me, trust in Arsenal 🙂

    I’m sooo happy today!

  23. Where is the Wenger hate now? The man knows what he is doing. So excited to see him play. If he scores against Tottenham he’ll be remembered forever… He said he is not fit but may be by the end of the week. May be something lost in his english there… Hope he plays we need him

  24. Almunia
    Sagna – Djourou – Gallas – Clichy
    Walcott – Fabregas – Nasri – Rosicky
    RvP – Arshavin

    The unstoppable PES squad I will use now haha!

  25. I still think our priority was and is a DM, anyway this have to be the team:

    – – – – – – Anyone – – – – – –
    Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy
    – – – – Diaby – – Song – – – –
    Arshavin – – – – – – – – Nasri
    – – VanPersie – – – Adebayor –

    OR instead of two DM, just one: KOLO!!

  26. -RvP
    Wow, what a headache for Wenger. With all players available, its gonna be one hell of a battle for a place in the team.

  27. Yeah SF, its really good news. Pitty he wont be in the CL, we could use his skill.

    Its time to save our season now, Chelsea, Villa watch out! The Gunners are coming!

  28. Tbh if I am Chelsea I am real worried. We have been punching way over our weight as of late and this has instilled the fighting, “get results” mentality in the squad. With the addition of some actual quality we will be quite dangerous. Focus is essential though and I feel like Wenger appreciates this point. We are 5 points behind them and yet to play them at home. If we keep pace with them, then beat them, its down to 2 points that can be dropped. Just go one game at a time- starting with poor old tottenham who had to watch us steal Arshavin for less then they offered last summer LOL

  29. I am surprised that I’m so happy about this transfer news. Throughout the prolonged saga I was completely indifferent to whether we landed Arshavin or not, I honestly hoped that we’d rope in another player to solidify the midfield and cushion the defensive burden. Someone in the mould of Flamini (I wish we could sign him back himself).

    The longer a transfer saga goes on, the more time it seems to take a player to fit into the team and win over the fans, but I don’t think that will happen this time. I doubt we’ll see Arshavin against spurs and thus we will line up with a midfield that doesn’t fill me with much confidence, but hopefully after that, he can be an instant hit. Much like Nasri was when he first joined.

    I’m struggling to imagine the midfield when we have Arshavin and the rest of the creative nexus players fit again, and that’s a salivating prospect. We just have to hope now that Arshavin doesn’t join the injury list any time soon!

  30. Check out the new team for season 09. I have some contacts that said that our president is moving on to make this spectacular team.

    1 Almunia
    2 Diaby
    3 Gallas
    4 Fabregas
    5 Toure
    6 Matthiew Bodmer, right now in Lyon
    7 Frank Ribery, bayern munich
    8 Nasri
    9 Eduardo, we want him back
    10 Andrei Arshavin, dont buy the 23 shirt, he will be the next 10
    11 Van Persie
    13 Rosiky, accepted to change number
    14 Walcott
    15 Denilson
    17 Yuri Gourcuff, now in Burdeos, future star
    19 Gerrard Pique, now in fc barcelona, they will trade him with Bacary Sagna,
    20 G Adam, big star from Rangers glasgow
    21 Jeremy Rothen, now in PSG, request from Arsene Wenger
    22 Clichy
    23 Kahlenberg, this denmark guy from Auxerre is total class
    24 Fabiansky, taking the ex number of his inspiration, Almunis
    25 The great Adebayor
    26 Bendter
    27 Eboue
    32 Carlos Tevez, great, paying the 32 million to West Ham he will join the gunners, yeah, na na na na na na hey hey hey Carlos Tevez
    46 Alan McGeady, this guy rules in celtic Glasgow

    Go Arsenal Yeah

  31. Pple, this Dude Ivan Gazidis has shown his worth, and I am really pleased with his negotiating powers. This is a sign of better things to come, the guy is a NEGOTIATOR. I want to on behalf of all the gooners fans, friends and enemies welcome Arshavin to the EMIRATE.

  32. Thank you very much, SF. I’m new to this game. I was going to write you a similar message to you – there are tonnes of Arsenal blogs out there but this one is by far and away the most ‘real’. Good work, it’s bookmarked!

    Also, I wouldn’t trade Sagna for Pique in a thousand years.

  33. @ enemyairships – Sweet as. Good stuff. You write extremely well so if you’d like to contribute in some way going forward we can make it happen.

    Where are you from?

  34. Apparently after it was concluded last night Arshavin and Phil Smith (negotiatot) went out and Arshavin wwas wearing an Arsenal shirt like a fan haha! I fi would have seen him walking down the street I would have went crazy! THen I woulda ran to the nearest computer and let everyone on this blog know it was a done deal lol… So glad we got him…

  35. Its blatantly obvious that the Arsenal fans welcome this transfer. I think its fantastic aswel. I would love to see him play v spurs. He has a lot of hype, talent, at his peak, and we would want to unleash his first victim as an arsenal player on spuds so i hope he plays if not. I think he will play v Cardiff in the FA Cup replay, I have a sneaky feeling Dudu will aswel.

  36. the league just began for arsenal haters!!!!brace uaselves coz with the return of Walcott,Fab,Rosicky and now new signing Arshavin,there’s nothing we can’t do.keep the faith gunners and thanks to Arsene Wenger!

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