Zenit St Petersburg have confirmed they are weighing up a permanent deal for Andrei Arshavin.
The Russian international returned on loan to his former club in February and promptly picked up a medal as Luciano Spalletti’s side coasted to the title.
Nevertheless, despite impressing during his time at the Petrovsky Stadium, it looked as though Arshavin had damaged his chances of another return to his hometown after offending the club’s president with comments made in the aftermath of Russia’s exit at Euro 2012.
Rejecting suggestions that a deal for the Russian national team captain is dead in the water, manager Spalletti told the Zenit website that the 31-year-old is still a possible recruit.
“From my point of view, Arshavin is a player of high class. In addition, he is an intelligent man. It all depends on his motivation. I have little doubt about Arshavin.
“It is absolutely definite that if he returned then he’d play just as well as he did last year.
“Arshavin is one of those names that we are discussing.”
Under contract at the Emirates for one more season, and seemingly deemed surplus to requirements by Arsene Wenger, it looks almost certain that Arshavin will leave the club this summer. Qatari side Al Sadd and Turkish giants Galatasaray have also been tipped to make the player an offer.
Signing for £15 million three years ago, the diminutive midfielder has showed only flashes of his mercurial brilliance since his four goal Anfield salvo earned him cult hero status with the Gooner faithful.
It remains to be seen how much Wenger recoups, although a figure in excess of £5 million (I’ve plucked that figure out of my arse) seems reasonable.