Andrei Arshavin is a very talented footballer. There’s no question about that. Even his critics would have to admit the Russian captain has the skills needed to succeed at the top level of the sport. However, as often happens in the world of sports, he may need a change of scenery, since he doesn’t seem to be able to put it all together when playing for Arsenal.
Some will argue that manager Arsene Wenger plays Arshavin in his wrong position and that’s the cause of his problems. However, he excelled in the 2008-09 Premier League season and wasn’t too shabby the next year either. His formed dipped to an all-time low in England this year with just two goals and that saw him head back to Russia to play for Zenit St Petersburg on loan.
He played more like his former self when arriving back in his native land and helped Zenit to the Russian championship with three goals in 10 games. His excellent form has carried on to the European Championships and Arshavin has been one of the best players at Euro 2012. He was excellent in Russia’s 4-1 win in their opening game and played just as well in the 1-1 draw against Poland, setting up his team’s goal with a superb free kick that was headed in by Alan Dzagoev.
If Arshavin continues to play this well at the tournament, there should be no shortage of clubs interested in him. This includes possible interest from Fulham manager Martin Jol. Arshavin’s stock will rise as he plays better and Arsenal, if they choose to sell him, should be able to ask for a decent transfer fee. It’s believed that Zenit, who Arshavin started his career with back in 2000, want him back full time, but offered the Gunners just £5 million. Arsenal then supposedly came back with an asking price of £8 million.
But considering Arsenal paid Zenit between £15 and £17 million for the player originally in 2009, it simply doesn’t add up to me. Considering the prices that have been paid for numerous players over the past few years, such as £35 million for Andy Carroll, £50 million for Fernando Torres, £21m for Shaun Wright Philips, and £8 million for Connor Wickham, I feel Arshavin is worth a lot more than £8 million.
The 31-year-old could very well be rejuvenated at Euro 2012 and it might be worth it for Arsenal to hang onto him at least until the January transfer window and see how he performs. However, if he’s determined to leave, I think Arsenal should up his price. It’s been reported that there are also a couple of Italian clubs interested in him as well, but he’d rather go back to Russia.
Of course, because of the player’s history, Arshavin could cool down at Euro 2012 as quickly as he caught fire. In fact, some may say he gave the ball away in the Polish penalty area quite easily just before Poland levelled the score in their 1-1 draw. But even if Russia has a bad game against Greece and somehow fails to make it out of Group A, he’s done enough in the first two games to impress just about everybody.
If all the Gunners are going to get for him is £8 million in today’s inflated market, I'd rather see them keep him and see how he starts the season.