Friday, 8 August 2008

Arshavin confirms Barcelona offer

In a very interesting interview with Russian sports paper Sport-Express, Zenit Saint Petersburg forward and Russian international Andrei Arshavin (27) has explained last months' events surrounding his transfer and the current situation:

"Before the Euros we met a few times with Zenit president Aleksandr Valerevich Dyukov in the Marriott Hotel in Moscow, where I was staying as part of the national squad. I am actually very thankful to him that he came himself since I didn't have the opportunity to leave the squad for a meeting at the time.

Dyukov made clear each time that the club cared a lot about me, and I always told him that I understand Zenit's concerns, but I very much want to try something different, in a stronger championship. So I asked him to give my agent Dennis Lachter permission to look for a new club for me. That was given for a month.

Already during the Euros Dmitry Selyuk, who used to work with Metallurg Donetsk, called to inform me that Barcelona were interested in me. He wanted to know how much Zenit wanted for me. I had already spoken to the former club president, Sergey Aleksandrovich Fursenko, about this, and the sum of 12-15 million euro was mentioned.

Given that when Dyukov arrived he explained that all of the former president's orders still stood, I told Selyuk 15 million euro°. He said that was an acceptable price and that if my personal terms could be met by Barcelona president Laporta, who would be contacting me, then the Catalan club would make Zenit a formal offer. Laporta called me, I told him what I wanted, and the president of Barca was fine with it.

The next day a fax was sent to Zenit with an official offer from the Catalan club. This was around the time of the match against Sweden at Euro 2008. I was informed by the intermediary Dmitry Selyuk that if Zenit refused this offer, then Barcelona would opt to buy Arsenal's Alexander Hleb. That was what eventually happened."

After some contacts with Italian clubs and Chelsea, Arshavin was then contacted by Tottenham: "I was initially sceptical about the offer from Tottenham but then manager Juande Ramos himself called me and informed me that they were selling Robbie Keane and really wanted to have me in their team, and my attitude changed. When the coach himself is interested in you it's already a half-start to an eventual successful transfer. So I agreed in principle to the deal.

A little later a representative from the English club came here to discuss the personal terms of my contract. The meeting didn't take long, we agreed everything quickly. Only my transfer fee became an issue. I don't know where the Zenit president got his figures from, but it was very high. I was told about 27 million euro°, which scared everyone away.

It had been mooted in the press that one of the stumbling blocks to a deal with a foreign club had been my demands, rather than those of his club but this is untrue. There was never any problem with my personal demands with Barcelona and Tottenham. I can say that if I leave to go abroad, I will earn less than in Russia."

Arshavin says he still wants to leave although he doesn't know if it will be possible this summer: "It's nicer to watch a soap opera than appear in one yourself. I really want to leave but the club, who don't want to let me go at all, are doing everything they can to make sure it doesn't happen. If I don't move now, I probably never will.

My mood at the moment, it's fair to say, is not the best. But it's easier now that all the rumours are dying down, unlike in the first weeks after the Euros when it was very hard. Every ten minutes the phone was ringing, and the situation kept changing in one way or another... Now you see yourself, we've been sitting here for half an hour and I haven't had one call.

I basically believe that the stars will all align themselves and I will be able to leave. But this might be more like believing in miracles. I could, of course, call up the president of the club every day and cry, but I think that would just annoy him. I'm sure he understands me as a human being, but I'm afraid at the moment that doesn't change anything."

Read more:
Arshavin waiting for a call from Barcelona
Silva versus Arshavin (scouting report)
Barcelona will have to move for Arshavin

3 comments:

pep said...

15 million euro =

24 million us dollar
12 million british pound


27 million euro =

42 million us dollar
21,5 million british pound

James said...

sounds like we had a deal for arshavin. then he blew up in the euros and zenit changed their minds hoping to get more money. oh well, too bad, for us and arshavin.

cojonudo said...

It's hard not to feel somewhat apathetic for Arshavin, the man seems caught in the middle of it all facing the prospect of playing for Zenit another term with his future still in doubt.

It's also hard to put all the blame on Zenit, at least initially, they were far from the only team inflating players prices due to their performances at the Euros (see Valencia and Villa.)

The key difference being that Arshavin declared from day one that he wanted to leave St. Petersburg while Villa remained "lukewarm" if not somewhat receptive to remaining at Valencia (at least in the press.)

Barcelona equally is not to blame as they shouldn't have held the train for Arshavin, potentially missing out on both he and Hleb in the process. And so far, even though it's early and premature, Hleb has fit in quite nicely with his new club.

Hopefully Arshavin will land on his feet. It remains to be seen how well he will adapt to the EPL if he joins Tottenham, but at least he'll be a lot happier (at least in the onset) rather than facing another season playing for Zenit.

I wish him the best of luck. For the sake of football I hope Zenit let's him go so that he can be seen and admired by football fans around the world, rather than remain "hidden" in Russia.

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