Andrey Arshavin won’t be sold, insists Arsene Wenger
Arsenal boss says he is "desperate" to hold on to the Russian despite below-par performances
Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal will not sell Andrey Arshavin – but admits the Russian is enduring a poor run of form.
Arshavin has been heavily criticised for a number of below-par performances for the gunners this season, prompting speculation that the 29-year-old attacker could be shown the door.
Reports have linked Arshavin, who joined the north Londoners for £16.9m in January 2009, with moves to Juventus and a switch back to former club Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Wenger, however, remains convinced of the Russia captain’s ability and says he is “desparate” to retain the services of the former Zenit star.
“We have had no contact,” said the Arsenal boss. “As soon as a player doesn’t play fantastically well, he is criticised. We all know that. I am very happy with Arshavin. I believe he is a great player – he is going through a period where it is more difficult for him at the moment.
“But he works very hard in training – his attitude is fantastic and I am desperate to keep him.
“He played almost every single game since the start of the season and has played for his national team as well. Physically he is a bit less fresh.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s young midfielder Jack Wilshere believes league leaders Manchester United are more than aware of the threat the gunners pose to their title hopes.
Third-placed Arsenal are four points behind Sir Alex Ferguson’s table-toppers having played a game more ahead of Saturday’s clash at West Ham, and Wilshere insists the red devils will be looking over their shoulder as the gunners look to close the gap.
“No matter what you say, if we play before them and get three points they are always going to be thinking we are on their tails,” Wilshere said.
“We’ve been strong in the Premier League for the last few games. We need to keep that going, get three points at West Ham and keep pushing on and trying to catch United.”