Arsenal continue Arshavin chase

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The Independent Football

Arsenal look to be closing in on their pursuit of Russia international Andrei Arshavin - provided they can overcome the hurdle of the "unacceptable" fee demanded by Zenit St Petersburg, according to the player's agent.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has made the 27-year-old his number one target, but the Barclays Premier League club will not be held to ransom.

It had been reported the two parties were close to an agreement, with Arsenal understood to have returned with an improved £12m offer which also includes add-ons, while Zenit coach Dick Advocaat claimed a move was indeed imminent.

An Arsenal delegation is said to have travelled to St Petersburg in an attempt thrash out the final details of what has become a protracted saga.

However, the Russians - who made it to the Champions League for the first time this season - are demanding a hefty cash down-payment closer to £20million.

Arshavin's representative Dennis Lachter suggested any talk of a done deal was premature.

"We still have time, but unfortunately at the moment there is nothing to say about quick movement or new developments," Lachter told sports news website

"Definitely money is still the sticking point. I think Zenit is still asking for an unacceptable amount of money, they are still playing very tough."

Whether or not Arsenal will meet the demands of the Russians and break their £13million transfer record remains to be seen - with Wenger playing things cool at the end of last week, suggesting the time it would take for Arshavin to adapt to the English game could well come into play when he considered any deal.

On the pitch, the Gunners extended their unbeaten Premier League run to eight games with a 3-1 win at Hull, which left them still outside the top four but having at least made up ground on Liverpool after their 1-1 with Merseyside rivals Everton last night.

Arsenal are in FA Cup action this weekend, when they travel to Coca-Cola Championship side Cardiff - last season's beaten finalists.

Wales teenager Aaron Ramsey could face his former club, his final appearance for the Bluebirds having come at Wembley ahead of a £5m summer move to Emirates Stadium.

Striker Robin van Persie admits the trip to Ninian Park on Sunday will be no easy ride.

"Cardiff City have incredible fans," said the Dutchman.

"I watched them at Ninian Park a couple of times when I went to visit my old mate Glenn Loovens last season.

"He would always tell me tales about their fans - and then I witnessed it for myself. They are passionate, they are outstanding in their support.

"The atmosphere will be similar to that at Stoke City's Britannia Stadium - and we lost [2-1 in the Premier League] there.

"It is going to be tough. I would be far happier if we had been at home, but if we match their work-rate I am positive we can come out on top."