Arsenal hit Arshavin impasse

Gunners remain at odds with Zenit over proposed fee for Russian playmaker

Zenit St Petersburg remain determined to stand firm on their asking price as Arsenal continue their pursuit of Andrei Arshavin. Arsène Wenger was hoping to complete a deal for the Russian playmaker ahead of the FA Cup fourth-round trip to Cardiff.

However, any plans to blood the new signing at Ninian Park on Sunday look to have been scuppered as Zenit will not budge from their demand for £20m for the player. While it is clear the Russians are resigned to losing the player, it will only be if the price is right.

With Arsenal, whose record transfer fee paid is £13m, having so far refused to match that figure – with them looking to lay out around £12m plus add-ons – the clubs appear to be at an impasse, although Zenit have indicated an improved cash bid up to £15m would secure the player's services.

It has even been suggested Arshavin, 27, could be willing to invoke new Fifa legislation and eventually buy himself out of the remainder of his contract later in the year should an agreement for his transfer not be reached this month. Arsenal have so far not made any official comment, other than Wenger revealing negotiations were ongoing.

The Premier League club are, though, understood to have set a deadline of Monday one way or another for what has turned out to be the most protracted saga of the January transfer window.

While Wenger has indicated he does have other targets, one of which is reported to be West Ham's former Gunners defender Matthew Upson as well as Le Mans' Ivory Coast striker Gervinho, it now seems almost certain there will be no fresh faces brought in before the squad depart for Wales.

Given their position in the Premier League – still outside the top four and six points behind new leaders Manchester United, who have a game in hand – the FA Cup may well now present Arsenal's most likely source of silverware this season. The Gunners, whose last trophy came when they beat United on penalties to win the famous old knockout competition in 2005, are likely to name a strong side for the game with Cardiff, finalists at Wembley last season.

While striker Robin van Persie has already warned his team-mates to expect a hot reception at Ninian Park, one player who should feel right at home will be young midfielder Aaron Ramsey. The Wales international, who turned 18 on Boxing Day, came up through the Cardiff youth ranks before joining the Gunners in a £5m deal during the summer.

Wenger feels Ramsey – who netted his first Arsenal goal in the 5-2 Champions League victory at Fenerbahce – has come a long way in a short time. "He has not only made the step up from the Championship to the Premier League, but also to a Premier League team that wants to be at the top and who fights in the Champions League, and that means it is a massive difference at such a young age," Wenger told the official Arsenal magazine. "I believe he did extremely well because he has drive and he can push the team forward. He is always available, he wants the ball and he is very dynamic in his play.

"Overall I am very pleased with his progress because I must say that he is ahead of where I planned for him to be in January. You have to remember though that he is still only just 18 years of age and you need to be a little bit patient with him. He has shown that every time we have picked him, he has responded in a very positive way."

Full-back Gaël Clichy will be suspended for Sunday's televised encounter after picking up a fifth caution in last week's 3-1 Premier League win at Hull.

Striker Eduardo, meanwhile, is set to continue his rehabilitation from a broken leg with another run-out for the reserves at Stoke tonight. However, the FA Cup tie is expected to be too soon for the Croatian's first-team return.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam