Former Arsenal ace Andriy Arshavin is convinced that Sardar Azmoun wants to leave Zenit St Petersburg amid reports suggesting the striker could follow in his footsteps at the Premier League giants, speaking to Sport24.
Iran international Azmoun admitted, following the close of last summer’s transfer window, that Tottenham Hotspur had made an approach for him, albeit with little success.
A few months on, it seems that Spurs’ North London neighbours are the ones to come calling this time around (MaisFutebol).
With Alexandre Lacazette out of contract next summer and both Eddie Nketiah and Folarin Balogun facing uncertain futures under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal are scouring the market for a new number nine.
And Azmoun certainly looks a lot more attainable than, say, a Dusan Vlahovic.
The former Rubin Kazan star will be a free-agent in eight months’ time after all and, unlike Vlahovic, is unlikely to have a who’s who of European superclubs batting their eyelashes in his direction.
That is not to say Azmoun should be viewed as something of an underwhelming addition to Arteta’s frontline.
The 26-year-old scored 40 times in the last two seasons after all, firing Zenit to successive Russian Premier League titles, and is well placed to break the 20-goal barrier again this time around.
Could Sardar Azmoun replace Alexandre Lacazette at Arsenal?
“Azmoun has a desire to leave,” says Arshavin, who swapped Zenit for Arsenal in what was then a club-record £15 million deal on a snow-swept afternoon in 2009.
“Both sides are behaving openly and honestly. The player wants to leave. Azmun remains a professional, he had a good first half (of the season). But we cannot force Serdar to stay.
“Azmoun, at Zenit, can only be replaced by a foreigner. It is important to find one. I don’t see a similar player in Russia.”
A player once labelled Iran’s answer to Lionel Messi in his youth is understood to earn £100,000-a-week at Zenit’s Gazprom Arena.