Arshavin bound for Spurs after Zenit lower £20m price tag

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The Independent Football

Zenit St Petersburg have cleared the path for Andrei Arshavin to join Tottenham – but Dimitar Berbatov's proposed move away looks set to rumble into the first part of the season.

Spurs were originally told that Arshavin, who impressed at Euro 2008 for Russia, would cost upwards of £20m but Zenit claim to have lowered their asking price. Arshavin, encouraged by a conversation with the Spurs coach, Juande Ramos, is willing to move to north London after initially declaring Barcelona as his preferred destination.

Spurs are in the market for strikers following the departure of Robbie Keane to Liverpool and Berbatov wanting to leave White Hart Lane for Manchester United. Arshavin would be seen as a like-for-like replacement for Keane.

"There are only small differences left," Zenit's sporting director, Konstantin Sarsaniya, told the Russian newspaper Sovetsky Sport, which suggested a deal could be concluded this weekend.

"Zenit have decided to reduce the asking price for Andrei, but exactly how much I cannot say because the negotiations were led by Zenit president Alexander Dyukov," Sarsaniya added.

Berbatov has told Spurs he wants to leave but the club have yet to agree a fee with United. The Bulgaria striker, 27, has been training with Spurs all week and was scheduled to travel to Middlesbrough for the Premier League opener at the Riverside today. Should Berbatov go, Ramos would be left with Darren Bent as his only out-and-out striker, with new signing Giovani dos Santos as possible support for the attack.

Ramos has also been linked with a move for Arshavin's Russia team-mate Roman Pavlyuchenko. Roque Santa Cruz – for whom Blackburn rejected a substantial offer from Manchester City – is also suggested as a possible target.