Having been told by boss Arsene Wenger that his four years at Arsenal will almost certainly be coming to an end this summer, midfield maestro Andrei Arshavin was thought to be preparing life for a return to his native Russia.
Wenger has brought in international forwards Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, with Malaga’s Santi Cazorla another thought to be close to arriving in north London.
It all means that after years of flattering to deceive at the Emirates – particularly after a stunning start to his career at the Gunners with four goals in a thrilling draw with Liverpool – Arshavin’s services are no longer desired.
The 31-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at first club Zenit St Petersburg, scoring three goals in ten appearances as they finished top of the Russian Premier League.
It was widely expected for this move to become a permanent one, but with his wife expecting a third child and the family settled in London, the Evening Standard are reporting that the Arshavins would prefer to stay in the capital.
And after reminding Europe of his class with another impressive showing on the international stage with Russia at the Euros, Arshavin is confident he can secure a move to another Premier League side, with Martin Jol registering an interest in bringing him to Craven Cottage.
It’s an ambitious move by the Cottagers, particularly given that they are – unlike Zenit – unable to offer him European football, but one that may well prove successful given Arshavin’s reluctance to call in the removal van.
With just one year left on his contract, Jol knows that much of the expense of bringing in Arshavin will lie in his contract, given that any fee owed to Arsenal is likely to be as low as £1m.
That still represents something of a potential stumbling block, with the Russian earning a whopping £80k a week, so much will depend on the midfielder’s acceptance of lower wages in order to continue his stay in the city he has called home for the last four years.