You remember that Andrei Arshavin fella; turned up in snowy London in 2009 from Zenit St Petersburg, proclaimed ‘Gooner’ status, scored four goals against Liverpool, smashed in a scorcher at Old Trafford, enjoyed playing with Cesc, held weird internet Q&A sessions, scored the winner against Barcelona, then disappeared off the face of the planet?
Yes? Well according to Russian national team coach Fabio Capello he’s gone and he’s not coming back.
Speaking to the Russian press (original source not found) about why he’s given up picking a man, who until recently was the captain of a country jam-packed with 143 million people, the Italian tactician had no problem cutting to the core of the matter.
“Arshavin is a great talent but he has started to fade. I went to see him in London but unfortunately I have to tell you that he is no longer a player that he used to be and I cannot call up a player to the national team unless he is beneficial to the team.”
“I would be a fool if I didn’t play Arshavin if he were in perfect shape or state of mind. Some people think that I removed him probably because of some personal reasons but the thing is that he is not performing.”
While Capello has done this type of thing before (remember him writing off Beckham at Real Madrid and for England?) it’s pretty hard to think he’s spoken out of turn this time around. While Arshavin is still capable of the odd flash of genius, whatever consistency he had before we signed him in 2009 has evaporated. And he’s just plain lazy.
There’s no chance Arsene Wenger will speak as dismissively (in public) about one of his own players but you can’t help but think the boss must be very disappointed with the way one of his most high-profile signings has fallen way below the standards expected.
That isn’t to say the Russian is solely responsible for his demise. There will always be questions about why he never had the chance to play in his favoured central position behind the striker; a position from which he spearheaded a UEFA Cup winning run for Zenit.
In January he’ll be able to sign a Bosman deal with a foreign club but with Zenit turning down the chance to take him permanently last summer it wouldn’t be surprising if he ended up traipsing somewhere exotic for one last big pay cheque. A sorry state of affairs.7,483 views