Ever since Arsene Wenger announced in April that Arsenal would not be renewing the contract of their current club record signing Andrey Arshavin the rumour mill has churned in hope of pinpointing his next destination.
What made the future of Arshavin most interesting was the apparent desire of the player to remain in the UK; as was reported by several sources.
That rhetoric saw him strongly linked with the likes of Fulham and Reading; despite logic dictating a return to his previous club Zenit St Petersburg as the most likely next move.
The 32-year-old playmaker had enjoyed unparalleled success whilst at the club and with Fabio Capello preferring to pick home-based Russian’s he also knew a return to his former team could help his ailing national team chances in a world cup year.
But for much of the summer it didn’t seem to matter whether he wanted a move back to the club or not; because Luciano Spaletti was not said to be keen on his arrival.
Citing his recent lack of first-team football the Italian stated any deal for the player was unlikely.
However it now seems as though, as with anything in football, money was the key to Zenit’s initial stand-offish attitude toward one of their most famous sons.
According to Russian publication Izvestia Arshavin has agreed on a two-year contract with the club ahead of a free transfer at the start of July.
The deal, which has a performance related one-year extension clause, will reportedly see him earn half the weekly salary he was making whilst an Arsenal player; which highlights the sacrifice Arshavin appears ready to make in order to return to the club where he had his finest moments such as winning the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Russian Premier League.
It is seen as an important signing to keep fans at Zenit happy after the departure of fan favourite Igor Denisov to Anzhi Makhachkala appeared to move a step closer today.
With the re-signing of perhaps the most iconic player in the clubs history they might be able to hash over the abdication of one of their own to the Dagestan-based side in one of the most politically important transfers in recent Russian Premier League history.
For Arshavin however; it will simply be an opportunity to return home.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald