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Arshavin returns to Zenit on loan

Arsenal midfielder Andrei Arshavin has returned to former club Zenit St Petersburg on loan for the rest of the season, in a deal completed on Russian transfer deadline day.

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Arshavin joined Arsenal in a high-profile move from Zenit in 2009, but the 30-year-old has been struggling for form this season and consistently linked to a possible move away from The Emirates.

Speculation emerged on Friday that Zenit were keen on welcoming Arshavin back, with unsubstantiated sources suggesting the Russian league leaders were prepared to pay a £1 million fee along with his wages.

The terms of the deal are yet to be announced, but confirmation arrived via Arshavin's personal Twitter account around 8pm. "It's done," he wrote.

Soon after ther Russian club said on their website: "Arshavin is back!''

The move may have come as a surprise to Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, who had maintained earlier on Friday he did not expect Arshavin to rejoin his former club before the Russian transfer window closed. Wenger did add he would "not stand in his way'' should an 11th-hour agreement be reached.

Arshavin spent eights years with Zenit, and his return to the Russian league leaders will no doubt be greeted warmly by fans who witnessed his rise to become one of Europe's most sought-after talents.

Another motivation for Arshavin's return can be found in this summer's Euro 2012 tournament, in which he would hope to feature prominently for Russia. Playing regularly for Zenit certainly won't harm his chances.

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