Regular readers of this site will know that I recently advocated the acquisition of Andrei Arshavin, before concrete rumours were ever spread. At this point in time, I am delighted to see the likelihood of Arsenal actually acquiring him has evidently gone up.
At 5’7″, Arshavin is not the most imposing figure. At 27, his rise to stardom has come late. Even his shining moment, last summer’s Euro’s, came at the expense of a dreadfully ineffective performance against Spain. He is also a player who some believe has temperamental issues.
Certainly, he is a player with much baggage. If he is bought, it will not be on the cheap. He quite possibly might be the biggest single-player gamble Wenger has taken. But is he worth it?
I wholeheartedly believe he can be a massive player for us. Here is a player with speed, technique, eyes for both passing and scoring, and according to Myles Palmer, is Pires-esque in that he is a two-footed winger.
At 27, time is certainly not on his side. As a child growing up, he avidly followed Barcelona. Only now is he getting a chance to play for a club to rival them.
He comes from a former Communist country. He is used to cold weather and harsh realities of life. He is not a pampered wannabe pop star. He is older, and likely wiser than many of our players.
On a personal sense, he has the skills, mentality, and drive to achieve great things. He has wanted his chance at the top for awhile, and a club like the Arsenal will give him that.
On a tactical sense, as stated in an earlier article of mine, his pace and dribbling skills are much needed. Nasri, Denilson, Song, Diaby, and to an extent Eboue, do not have speed as a main asset. They rarely go on singular forays into the opposing defense’s final third, drawing defenders out of position. While his dribbling style is not the same as Hleb’s, it nevertheless can be just as effective. His virtuoso displays against the Netherlands and Manchester United displayed his ability to attack the top defenders. He has a goal scoring record to prove his threat. On the left of midfield, he can be a massive thorn in the side of the opposition. In a side that seemingly did not have the desire to fight against teams like Hull, Stoke, and Fulham, Arshavin’s directness can be a blast of fresh air in the faces of our other attackers. Because he can play in midfield or up front, he will cause competition for places, something Adebayor could certainly use a bit of. One only needs to look at the early-season emergence of Vela to see how van Persie’s form has been affected by a new player; Arshavin would most likely have that same effect.
Andrei Arshavin will not be cheap, and he will have to adapt to the Premier League, but he is not a player who will want to dally around with his career. The Russian Premier League is over, and he has had quite a few months to relax. He will be able to jump right into the squad and be a right kick up the arse of our team. Everyone knows that is exactly the effect we need to marshall us forward.
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