Zenit: Arsenal have 5 days to sign Arshavin

21 January 2009

Zenit St Petersburg have confirmed reports that Andrei Arshavin’s move to Arsenal is no closer to being concluded. Maxim Mitrofanov, the general director of the Russian club, also confirmed that Arsenal would pull out of negotiations in five days time if a price could not be agreed.

Quoted in the Daily Express, Mitrofanov explained, “the situation has not changed since Friday, which means Arsenal would like to pay only £12m, not one cent more.”

“And we, at Zenit, are ready to discuss with them about maybe a better offer from our side.

“We are ready to make a step forward to them, but they should also do the same.

“However, I have told the people from Arsenal we are ready to discuss a lot of things which could make the situation easier for them.

“They have a deadline, as I understand, until January 26, because, after that, they should have some time to get another player and I respect this position.”

Arshavin's agent, Dennis Lachter, told sport.co.uk yesterday that if the saga between the clubs failed to yield a result this month then his client would be forced to take matters into his own hands by buying out his contract in November.

“Definitely money is still the sticking point, I think Zenit is still asking for an unacceptable amount of money, they are still playing very tough – it’s the position of the club and this is the grim reality," said Lachter.

“We will not go out of contract with Zenit in the Summer, we will wait until November. In November he will be able to use his right to buy out Article 17 of the FIFA rules.

“Zenit will be forced to accept a much lower deal than they are hesitating to take now.”

Sport.co.uk also contacted a further source close to the deal who revealed the frustrated state-of-mind in the Arsenal camp:

"Arsenal don't understand what is going on at all - no-one is answering their phone-calls or returning their faxes," said a source close to the deal.

"What can Arsenal do? It is becoming clear that Zenit are totally nuts. Arsenal might wait one more day, possibly two, but Zenit seem to be football jokers.

"In the civil world you don't make someone wait a week before you return a fax, you don't tell someone you'll call them tomorrow and not do it.

"Zenit don't care about money, they just seem to have made up their minds not to sell. They have just been playing games, showing they're tough.

"It's exactly as if nothing has changed since the days of the Soviet Union and they are just trying to prove a point to the western world."

"Andrei is incredibly frustrated about it and isn't at all happy as there have been a lot of promises made to him which have fallen through," explained the source.

"Going on strike was an option but if he does that he obviously won't play for Zenit, and if he doesn't play for them he can't play for the Russian national team.

"If he doesn't play for the Russian national team then he won't make the 75% of appearances he needs to allow him to play in the UK.

"Right now it seems as if nothing will change dramatically, and there isn't any light at the end of the tunnel.

With Arsenal ready to pull the plug on negotiations on the 26th January it would appear that a conclusion to the transfer negotiations will come either way.