Arsenal complete Arshavin signing

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Russia playmaker Andrei Arshavin.

The Gunners agreed a deal for the player with his former club, Zenit St Petersburg, just minutes before yesterday's 5pm transfer deadline and had to wait until today for the move to be ratified by the Premier League.

That has now been forthcoming and the 27-year-old has joined for an undisclosed fee, signing what the north Londoners call a "long-term" contract.

Arsenal were forced to delay naming Arshavin as their player until late this afternoon as it was one of a number of transfers awaiting approval by the Premier League board because of administrative delays caused by the severe snow which crippled London's transport networks yesterday.

However, when asked if he was an Arsenal player, the Russian international told his personal website this morning: "I think so. The negotiations came to a close and there will be details [on Tuesday].

"Now I can say only one thing - that if I play for Arsenal, it will be at number 23."

Zenit's official website also maintained the deal had been completed, although they credited a Russian news agency for the story.

"Zenit, Arsenal and Andrei Arshavin have concluded talks in London," the report on www.fc-zenit.ru read.

"An FC Zenit source has informed Fontanka that the talks were successful, and Andrei Arshavin is moving to Arsenal. The signed documents have already been sent to the English Football Association [Premier League].

"A source close to the discussions has told Fontanka that the terms of the deal are financially suitable to Zenit.

"The St Petersburg club will receive £16.5million - £15m for the transfer of the player and £1.5m compensation for breaking a long-term contract.

"In addition there is a further 500,000 Euros [£450,000] in bonuses which Arshavin has not yet received which will not be paid and instead make up part of the transfer sum.

"The overall sum of the transfer is around US Dollars 24m [£16.9m]."

Should those figures be correct, the deal would represent a transfer record for the Gunners.

Arshavin, who is reported to have been prepared to take a pay cut to join Arsenal, jetted into London yesterday for a medical to complete the deal, and is understood to have now returned to Russia to complete some personal arrangements before starting work at his new club.

Wenger has long been an admirer of the 41-cap Russia international, who shot to prominence at Euro 2008.

While Arshavin could make his debut in Sunday's north London derby at Tottenham, given the Russian domestic season finished in November, the player is more likely to be allowed some time to build up full match fitness.

Arsenal currently lie five points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa after successive Barclays Premier League draws against Everton and West Ham.

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