Russian midfielder Andrei Arshavin has finally been officially unveiled as Arsenal’s new number 23.
The transfer was officially confirmed almost 24 hours after the close of the January window, a delay that was due to complications with the paperwork concerning the deal.
Speaking to Arsenal TV Online today, the Russian said: “I am happy to be [here] at Arsenal. It was my dream. “[I chose Arsenal] because I like their style and I like Arsene Wenger as a coach.”
“I have followed each [Arsenal] game and I believe that Arsenal can win a trophy [this season].”
“Arsenal are one of the leading football clubs in the world, with a group of fantastic young players and a great manager. I am looking forward to making the supporters happy and helping this great Club win trophies.”
The transfer fee is believed to be in the region of Ã‚Â£12 million and will see the 27-year-old stay at the Emirates until 2012. Arsenal will consider this as good business as Zenit were reportedly looking for a fee of around Ã‚Â£20 million for the midfielder.
The Russian made the headlines during the Euro 2008 Championships as he helped Russia make it to the semi-finals of the competition. Since last summer, he has constantly been linked with a move away from his former club, Zenit St Petersburg.
Having already played for Zenit in the UEFA Champions League this season, he will not be eligible to feature in the competition for the Gunners, but he will of couse be available for all domestic games, and could even be included in the squad for Arsenal’s visit to White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon.
There is a tangible sense of relief amongst Arsenal fans at the moment, mainly because of the doubts that were cast over the transfer deal last night and this morning, but also because it means that one of the most tedious transfer sagas to date is now officially over.
A statement on Arsenal’s official website read: “Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Russian international midfielder, Andrey Arshavin has joined the Gunners from Zenit St. Petersburg on a long-term contract.”
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