Setanta Sports is reporting that Arsene Wenger has cast serious doubts over whether Arsenal will in fact compete for Zenit St Petersburg’s Andrei Arshavin this summer.
Andrei Arshavin – Arsenal manager casts doubts on his stamina
The Russian play-maker played extremely well in the Euro 2008 matches against Sweden and Holland, there’s no doubt about that. Those games were played on 18th and 21st June respectively.
But then in his third game against Spain in the semi-final on 26th June, he looked tired and was never in the game as Spain easily defeated Russia, for the second time in the tournament.
That was 3 games Arshavin played in a short 9 days. He had missed Russia’s first two games because of suspension, so he was fresh when he did play his first game against Sweden.
But Arsene Wenger has questioned his performance against Spain, in which the Russian was invisible, and questions whether Arshavin would be up to playing two games a week in Spain or England.
Barcelona, which his preferred destination, are said to be leading the race for Andrei, but it looks like Arsenal have significantly cooled their interest in the player.
The Arsenal manager was at a media conference organized by Euro 2008 tournament sponsors Castrol, and Wenger was asked how he would assess Arshavin:
“That Arshavin is a top-level talent is beyond doubt,”
“The only issue is related to the fact that the leading leagues in the world mean you must be at the highest level of physical readiness throughout the season.”
“Can he show his full potential every three days that happens every season the same in England and Spain?”
“In the semi-final meeting with the Spaniards, in which Arshavin looked to be exhausted, has forced me to ask this question.”
Wenger in one of the best in the world (if not the best) at recognizing and developing football talent, so we’re sure some clubs will take notice of what Arsene says.
Maybe if Arshavin had played in the first two games, he wouldn’t have looked so good in the quarter finals and Russia may not have fared so well.
We’ll have to see if Barcelona still maintain their interest in the player, although we understand they have only bid Â£10M for the Russian, and his club rate him at Â£20M.
But the hype of the Euro 2008 Championships will begin to tail off, and maybe his price will come down, along with the hype.
Newcastle United, of course, were interested in the Russian way before the Euro 2008 tournament, but the player is now out of reach of the clubÂ ….Â perhaps.