Arsenal are desperately trying to offload Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin from their books this January in order to clear space for new recruits. Currently his hefty wages are bogging down the clubs attempts in the transfer window and considering the plummeting of his stock at The Emirates over the last 18 months Arsenal have no desire to keep hold of him beyond the expiry of his current contract at the end of the season.
The likes of former club Zenit Saint Petersburg and Turkish outfit Galatasaray have both been mooted as possible destinations but recent speculation has also seen the diminutive forward linked with a move to PSV Eindhoven.
The main cause for this rumours is the PSV coach, Dick Advocaat. Arguably the Dutchman managed the Russian during his most successful years during his time at the helm of Zenit and even managed to get glimpses of his best out of the player during his spell as the Russian national boss.
The original talk is of a potential loan-deal with talks then opening up at the end of the season over signing on a free transfer; and potentially talking about the word ‘pay-cut’ in regards to his hefty £80k-a-week wage demands.
It is those figures that reportedly put paid to a free transfer to Reading this January transfer window; as many sources attribute Arshavin with a desire to remain in the London area a move abroad may seem out the question.
However with Advocaat he has a staunch admirer and may reconsider that position. In June 2011 the former Rangers gaffer spoke of Arsenal’s misuse of the precocious talent:
"Wenger uses him as a player who can refresh the game in the second half. Andrei shows willingness to give the team the best of what he has. I worked with him for over two years at Zenit St Petersburg and I know him. He is a brilliant player in single moments. The problem at Arsenal is it is not enough to be a player of a single moment."
So could Arsenal try their best to utilise this admiration for their benefit. Kevin Strootman is one of Europe’s most wanted midfield talents with the likes of Manchester United, AC Milan and others all interested in the Dutch international.
After losing out to local rivals Spurs in the pursuit of Lewis Holtby they could turn this situation thoroughly in their favour. The quotes PSV are requesting for their prized asset are astronomical but if Arsenal were to throw in Arshavin for free six months early they might just be able to bring the price down slightly, sugar-coat the hierarchy and also release a sizeable amount of wages to accommodate Strootman.
It could be a perfect storm is brewing.
Do you think Arshavin could be used as bait to get Strootman?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald