Arsenal persistence set to pay off over Arshavin

Arsenal hope to announce today that they have finally signed Andrei Arshavin for a club record £15m fee, which could rise to as much as £17m, after a day of extraordinary brinksmanship that, for several hours at least, left the deal severely in the balance.

The Premier League club are confident that all the paperwork to complete the transfer of the Russian international, who has agreed a four-and-a-half year deal, was completed in time although they had to cope with a ridiculous amount of obfuscation and confusion from Zenit St Petersburg.

They were also awaiting confirmation from the Premier League that all the documentation had been received in time for their 5pm deadline although with the three-hour time difference to Russia and with Zenit's directors in various degrees of incommunicado – one was in hospital, another in Africa, relying on a third to sign the papers – Arsenal were arguing they deserved some leeway. "It was completed in extra-time but we must wait for confirmation," said Arshavin's agent Dennis Lachter, who added: "in 16 years this has been the most difficult transfer ever."

The final delay on the deal – once a fee, personal terms and a medical were agreed and with Arsenal being assured a work permit would not be a problem – was an amazing wrangle between Arshavin and Zenit over who was entitled to his signing-on fee which amounted to more than £2m.

Arsenal, against their wishes, agreed to pay the fee in full but also refused to get involved in the argument. Zenit claimed that Arshavin owed them half the fee because he wanted to leave, and break a four-year contract he had signed, and that they had lowered their initial asking price to make the deal happen while the 27-year-old was adamant that he was entitled to the money because the Russian club had touted him around and wanted to sell.

The events of the day were a microcosm of what has taken place over the past five weeks as Arsenal have attempted to sign Arshavin. The player and his advisers will claim that they did everything possible to push through the transfer having flown into London on Sunday evening and then positioning themselves in a Hertfordshire hotel close to where Arsenal conduct their medicals. Twice yesterday Arshavin was told the deal was dead but hung around, because of the adverse weather as much as anything else, before gradually each of the hurdles preventing a transfer was cleared.

And then Zenit told both the news agencies, Reuters and Associated Press, that the deal was dead while Arsenal sources were remaining far more optimistic even though it was clear the deal was an extremely close run thing and the deadline may have, technically, been breached.

For Arsenal fans the signing Arshavin, who is expected to take the number 13 shirt vacated by Alexander Hleb when he left last summer, will come as a relief, even if many question whether or not they needed a player in his position, as a second striker or attacking midfielder, when there are obvious problems with the make-up of the rest of the squad.

Given that Arshavin has not played a competitive match since the end of the Russian season, before Christmas, and and has been in Dubai undergoing warm weather training with the rest of the Zenit squad, then Wenger may have also had concerns over his fitness. Arshavin did not take part in any of Zenit's three friendly matches during their two-week stay on the basis that he would be securing a transfer during the window.

Arsenal also insist they did not budge on the payment plan – £12m up-front with £3m in instalments – that they had proposed. But there appears to have been some movement on the signing-on fee to bring them closer to Zenit's valuation.

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
and  

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

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf