When my great Arsenal friend Ken texted me this morning with the news that the Russian captain Andrei Arshavin 23 was going back to Zenit albeit on loan, I for once felt Arsenal got it right this time. The man has lately come under pressure and even the winning pass he gave Henry a few weeks ago away at Sunderland did little to appease the Arsenal faithful who still felt aggrieved following the Manchester incident. For a man who joined Arsenal in 2009 for a club record fee even after Barcelona and Tottenham failed in their pursuits to get him, such an exit (sorry, I don’t think it’s an exit really) is not what the world expected a few years down the line.
If you ever had a chance to watch the EURO’s in 2008 or the highlights for that matter, you are never gonna deny the fact that this guy rocked then. His dazzling performances could only be stopped by eventual winners Spain after leading his country to a historic semi-final berth. He virtually won everything he could with Zenit between 2000 and 2009 before leaving for Arsenal where he won virtually nothing (Emirates cup? Ssshhhh that’s not a recognised trophy)
But ladies and gentlemen, let’s give credit where it’s due. I don’t dispute the fact that more than often, Arshavin gave lazy performances, looked like a player bored and often than not left most of us frustrated; he also had his good days at the club. Days I can still look up to for inspiration whenever I see the jersey 23 in green on the fourth official’s board when I know, deep in me that another bad performance might just be on the cards.
21st April 2009 (don’t ask me how I even remember the exact date) wow, the man pops up with four goals at Anfield a match Arsenal could have easily lost. At this time, he was flying high, he was unstoppable and at the end of that month when he was awarded player of the month, I could only expect more and more from him. Though the moments are not very many, this one will forever be in all the GUNNERS minds for years and years to come. Against Barcelona you are never favourites; Arsenal was drawing 1-1 courtesy of a Van Persie equaliser and needed that extra push to win the tie. Out of the blues, he pops up with a well struck ball that finds its way to the back of the net and he gives Arsenal an upper hand going into the second leg at Camp Nou. In as much Arsenal never won at Camp Nou and was eventually eliminated, he sure was the star of the moment.
For a player who has already clocked 30, not much more is expected from him but with another EURO fast approaching and having missed on the World Cup with his country, he needs to get his form real quick. A loan move was much more preferable for the two parties but in my mind I think it’s time the man walked out of the premier league. With Wenger being under pressure and Arshavin already a man the fans are tired of, it may be fair to mention that his Arsenal days might just be closer to the end with each passing day. No player is contented with bench position and constant questioning of his ability by the fans and in this regard, my word to Arshavin would be, ‘Open your eyes, see what the future holds, sure it’s not here, neither do I know if it’s there, but one way or the other you have to make it count’