Andrey Arshavin's exit from Arsenal confirmed by Arsene Wenger

Russian forward may retire from football altogether

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The Independent Football

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that forgotten Russian midfielder Andrey Arshavin will not remain at the Emirates Stadium after his contract expires at the end of the season.

31-year-old Arshavin, who moved to north London for a rumoured fee of £15m from Zenit St Petersburg in 2009, has reportedly grown disillusioned with football during his disappointing spell in England and it was suggested earlier this week that he may even be ready to quit the game altogether, largely due to an apparent lack of alternative interest in his signature.

""I don't think he will stay here, because he doesn't play enough," said Wenger. "He is at the end of his contract at the end of the season, then he will decide what he will do."

Arshavin hasn't made an appearance for Arsenal since coming on as a substitute in a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 20 January and even returned to Zenit for a loan spell last season. He was linked with a transfer to relegation-threatened Reading during the last transfer window and persistent rumours also circulated concerning a move across the Atlantic to the Los Angeles Galaxy, but neither ever materialised. A seeming reluctance by many clubs to match the player's extravagant £95,000-a-week wage is believed to be the overriding reason that Arshavin has remained at Arsenal. 

But despite his distinct lack of playing time at the club in recent months, Wenger had nothing but praise for Arshavin's effort and application.

"Arshavin has shown 100 per cent commitment at absolutely every session, he has been an example for everybody. He has been questioned many times about his commitment, but if you saw him every day you would respect him for what he does on a daily basis. He has been absolutely fantastic."

The Russian will most likely be remembered most fondly by Arsenal fans for his stunning four-goal haul in a pulsating 4-4 Premier League draw against Liverpool at Anfield in April 2009.