Media reports this week seem to suggest that Arsenal playmaker Andrei Arshavin will retire from the sport at the end of the current season.
For a long term advocate for the talented player like myself I find this news rather saddening.
He signed for Arsenal off the back of dominating Europe in Switzerland/Austria 2008 and a superb run of form with Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg but despite early glimpses of his obvious capabilities as a footballer the Russian never quite settled into English football.
Which cannot be said about English life.
It is the widespread consensus that the only reason Arshavin is still with Arsenal is because the Russian wants to be there.
The former national team captain is reportedly happy in the North London area and has no desire to leave due to family reasons. This has left any potential move back to Russia, to China or to Galatasaray; all of which have been put forward as opportunities rendered obsolete.
So he is reportedly retiring because he has fell out of love with the game and doesn’t want to leave the London area.
None of the Premier League teams are likely to be interested in him now but huzzah!
What if Andrey Arshavin went and joined the Edgar Davids revolution at The Hive. We understand he has fallen out of love with ‘the game’ but surely he hasn’t fell out of love with football.
A player who plays in the mercurial way he does never could.
So scratch the money, the pressure, the TV, the press speculation this could be his perfect move; and judging by the atmosphere at Underhill at the moment it seems it would be impossible not to fall in love with the game once again. You can see from Davids’ passion that Barnet FC and its fans has certainly given him something to cherish.
Location wise it is also perfect. Just a stone’s throw from each other the Arsenal youth teams play at Underhill and every pre-season the two sides take part in an annual friendly.
If Barnet stay up personally I see no other reason apart from money that would stop Arshavin making his current move. But after the bumper deals he had at both Zenit and Arsenal surely that would not be a major issue.
Have I gone mad? Absolutely, completely, bonkers; but when you hear a player is considering retirement for a lack of love a part of you just wants them to go play at the bottom run of the professional ladder and discover that little kid inside them once again.
Surely Arshavin wants to do the same?
image: © bradstevens