No point letting Arshavin leave for free now


With Andrei Arshavin being in the last year of his contract, he can walk away for nothing from the Emirates at the end of the current football season. However, reports have been circulating that Arsenal is willing to let the Russian international head back to Russia before that country’s transfer window closes on Sept. 6. The problem for the Gunners is that they’ve reportedly offered to let him go for free. But if you’re not going to get anything for him anyway, why doesn’t the club just keep him for the season?

I know the answer I’m going to get here is that manager Arsene Wenger would rather get rid of him now to save on his weekly wages, which are rumoured to be about £80,000 a week. But it can’t always be about the money. Sometimes you have to think of the football team first. Arshavin’s wages aren’t going to break the club or send them reeling into bankruptcy and the club made money from transfers this summer. He’s still a top class footballer and should be kept in case of injury problems or suspensions to the squad.

Arshavin’s proven time and time again since joining the Gunners in 2009 that he has the skills needed to be an elite player. Of course, his four-goal masterpiece against Liverpool will always be his shining moment. Wenger could find him to be a key player down the road of the long 10-month Premier League season and he’d be worth keeping around. In addition, if he does play and plays well, he could suddenly be worth something to somebody and the Gunners could at least recoup some of his wages.

If Arshavin goes anywhere, it could be to Dynamo Moscow since his former club Zenit St. Petersburg has gone out and blown millions on Brazilian striker Hulk. It’s doubtful that they’ll go after Arshavin at this point even though he went there on loan last January, but CSKA Moscow could also be a possibility. Just in case he doesn’t go anywhere, Wenger has included the Russian in his Champions League squad as well as the EPL roster.

Meanwhile the 31-year-old just sits and waits to see what happens next. He won’t be playing this week for Russia in their World Cup qualifying matches since new manager Fabio Capello has left him off of the squad. This is a move that could backfire on the former England manager as Arshavin was the team captain and is still one of the engines that drives the squad. However, he’s been quite a controversial figure back in his homeland ever since the European Championships ended this summer.

Arshavin played some superb football and Russia looked to be a force to be reckoned with when they beat the Czech Republic 4-1 in their tournament opener. Things went downhill from there though as they drew Poland 1-1 and were then knocked out of the event when Greece beat them 1-0 in their final group game. When the team got back to Moscow, Arshavin was the scapegoat and took the brunt of the fans’ criticism. He then added fuel to the fire when he made some statements about the tournament that caused an uproar in some circles.

Arsenal paid £13 million for Arshavin when they bought him and had hoped they’d be able to get about £5 million back when selling him. Of course, if the Gunners are offered anything for the player, then most of the above becomes moot because they better take what they can get rather than lose him for nothing at the end of the campaign. If he stays and is needed then Wenger should play to the Russian’s strengths.

But on the other side of the coin, Arshavin will have to play much better if he stays. He needs to put in an honest effort when on the pitch and chip in defensively as well as in the attack. He’s a talented player who could possibly need a reality check to motivate him. The next 24 hours could just do the trick.

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From Peterborough, just about 60 minutes from Arsenal's ground. I remember going to Highbury when growing up and after my Uncle's stepson Mark Heeley joined the Gunners from Peterborough when he was just 17 back in the 1970s. Currently cover sports (mainly football, boxing, and ice hockey) for various sites and magazines. Still see most of the games when in Canada. In fact, they get more EPL matches there than in Britain.