Eduardo's readiness to return boosts Arsenal

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Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has been reassured by Eduardo that the striker's return to action will be just like signing a new player.

The encouraging news comes as Zenit St Petersburg appear to have softened their stance on the fee demanded for Arsenal target Andrei Arshavin. Although the most drawn-out saga of the transfer window is unlikely to be resolved in time for Arshavin to feature in Arsenal's FA Cup tie at Cardiff on Sunday, it now seems that the parties may at last be moving closer to an agreement, following a week of claim and counter-claim.

Arsenal have refused to pay Zenit £20m while Zenit had rejected a bid of £12m which included add-ons, but it now appears a compromise could be reached which would allow Arshavin, 27, to complete his dream move to the Gunners – whom he claims are his "team of the future".

In the meantime Eduardo has claimed he is "ready for the first team", however Wenger may not rush to recall the striker whose leg was broken at Birmingham last season and the player is ready to let his manager decide when he resumes senior duties.

Arshavin may yet feature before Eduardo, as Zenit are resigned to losing their star man and confident matters will be concluded – despite the claims of Arshavin's agent, Dennis Lachter, that their inflated demands were unreasonable. "We are certainly conducting negotiations directly with the Arsenal chief executive," Zenit general director Maksim Mitrofanov said. "The footballer's agent is not taking part in them. Because of this he simply does not know all the details of the process of negotiation, and in this sense his comments should not always be trusted."

Wenger has confirmed Pole Lukasz Fabianski will play in goal on Sunday against Cardiff. However, defender William Gallas (hamstring) is not yet in contention, while full-back Gaël Clichy must serve a one-match ban. "Fabianski will play because it is the FA Cup, maybe one or two others will come in too," Wenger said. "The team will be comparable to the side which played against Plymouth."