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Arsenal at last close in on record deal for Arshavin

Arsenal appear to have finally struck a deal to sign Andrei Arshavin from Zenit St Petersburg for what would eventually be a club record fee of £17m. Sources in Russia claimed last night that Arsenal had raised their offer to sign the 27-year-old, who can play as a striker or attacking midfielder, close to his club’s valuation.

Arsenal have yet to agree personal terms with Arshavin and his agent, Dennis Lachter, was still in Tel Aviv last night because he felt talks between the two parties had stalled. However Zenit released a statement which claimed a deal had been struck. “The fundamental understanding over the transfer of the player is achieved between the clubs,” read the statement. “At the moment the basic obstacle in realisation of the transaction is Andrei Arshavin’s personal requirements.”

Given Arshavin’s desire to leave Zenit, and Arsenal’s pursuit of the player, it is unthinkable that terms cannot be now agreed and that he will not be at the Emirates in time for Saturday’s Premier League fixture against West Ham.

Portsmouth are optimistic that they have sealed a six-month loan deal for the Real Madrid striker Javier Saviola.

It is hoped that the 27-year-old, who has grown frustrated at his lack of opportunities at Real, will attend tonight’s Premier League home game with Aston Villa. Portsmouth have also completed the £3m signing of Hayden Mullins and another loan deal, acquiring the midfielder Pele from Porto.