There are reports today, from the BBC, that Russian play-maker Andrei Arshavin may get his wish, as his dream club, Barcelona, have approached his current club, Zenit St Petersburg.
Andre Arshavin – ineffective last night against Spain
The 27-year-old had said earlier this week that playing for Barcelona was his dream, since it was the club he supported as a youngster in Russia.
On Wednesday, Arshavin had said:
“Barcelona are my dream, I never thought I would have a genuine chance to play for the club.”
“I have supported Barcelona all my life, let’s see how the situation unfolds.”
“For now I can’t say anything for sure.”
Arshavin had previously told BBC Radio 5 Live of his admiration for England’s top league:
“I see English games on TV – it’s the best league in the world,”
“I would like to change club. It’s not a big difference between England and Spain.”
“It’s another level for me.”
Barcelona Vice President Ferran Soriano admitted the club were interested in the player and told Mundo Deportivo:
“We are interested in Arshavin.”
“But it won’t be easy to sign him because all teams want him now.”
But Barcelona must now be favored to win the race for Andrei, if they are willing to pay the huge fee now on Arshavin’s head, but the Zenit official added:
“Barcelona have made a formal proposal to Zenit for the purchase of Arshavin.”
“We will only talk about this once Andrei returns to Zenit.”
The forward has starred in Russia’s run to the semi-finals of Euro 2008, and he was heavily linked with Newcastle United before the Euro 2008 finals started, but is now completely out of reach for the Tyneside club, since his transfer fee seems to have more than doubled.
He had an ineffective game for Russia last night, and Spain were the worthy 3-0 winners with Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas making two of Spain’s three goals, and looking very good, as usual.
Russia looked nothing like the attacking force they had been in their last two games, but Spain had beaten them in the group 4-1 in their first game, and Russia seemed hesitant to move too far forward.
Since Arshavin had two great games and his value in the transfer more than doubled – does that mean his transfer value now comes down after a poor game last night?Â Â Â No, but it’s a good thought isn’t it.
Arshavin’s agent Dennis Lachter said the player would now cost about 25M euros (Â£20M), but said money was not the main issue, as he told Spanish television station La Sexta:
“It’s time for him (Arshavin) to look for new challenges, and this is a great opportunity for him,”
“Everything depends on how interested Barcelona are and how much the player wants to play there.”
“There are not that many clubs in the world that can match his pay at the moment, but the main reasons for leaving will be sporting ones.”
Barcelona say they have been monitoring Arshavin since April, and Barcelona VP Soriano added the Spanish giants had first noticed him when he played against German side Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Cup, and he told Mundo Deportivo:
“Our interest isn’t sudden since we have been following him with discretion for a few months now,”
“We were under the impression that he played in midfield, but now we have seen that in big games, with his national team at the Euro, that he plays on the flank,”
“That’s dispelled any doubt and this is the profile of a player we would like.”
Zenit coach Dick Advocaat is already resigned to losing his star player, and he told BBC Radio 5 Live:
“I can understand that he wants to play in Europe,”
“I think he has some clubs in his mind, some in England and others in Spain, because they are the only two countries he would like to play in.”
“If you lose one of your main players you don’t like it as a coach but you have to be realistic.”
But buying players who have starred in big tournaments like this is not the best way to gauge a player, becasue there’s too much hype and emotion involved.
You really want somebody who will perform well, week in and week out, and while Arshavin can do that, he is now too expensive at Â£20M.
But to think all this is now going on a for a player that Newcastle could have had in January for Â£8M.Â Â Â 🙁