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Jan 21, 2009

Arshavin may buy out contract as transfer stalls

Andrei Arshavin could exercise a FIFA rule which would allow him to buy out the remainder of his Zenit St Petersburg contract unless a deal to sell him is agreed during the January transfer window, according to his agent.

Arsenal's attempts to sign Arshavin appear to have stalled with the Gunners reportedly refusing to meet Zenit's £18 million valuation of the Russian playmaker.

With Arsene Wenger thought to be unprepared to offer more than £12 million for the 27-year-old, Arshavin is prepared to consider an alternative means of securing a move.

''Unfortunately in this matter there is no movement,'' Arshavin's agent Dennis Lachter told the Russian press. ''The sticking point is, of course, money and rather the totally unacceptable amount of Zenit's demands for Andrei.

''The position of the club remains unchanged and that is the reality that we have faced for a long time. If the situation remains unchanged we will use Article 17 of the FIFA rules and buy-out the contract of Andrei at the club, which could happen as early as November this year,'' said Lacher.

Article 17 allows a player to break his contract after the expiry of a ''protected period'', usually after three years of a deal if the player was under 28 when he signed, or after two years if the player signed when 28 or over.

In order to exercise this right the player must pay compensation to his club using a formula based on wages and their original transfer fee, essentially allowing the player to buy out his contract and move to another for free.

''In that situation, Zenit would have to be satisfied with a much smaller amount than they are offered by representatives of Arsenal. If Andrei becomes a free agent, he will get many proposals, from England, Italy and Spain,'' said Lacher.

Zenit's general director Maxim Mitrofanov said: ''The situation has not changed since Friday, which means Arsenal would like to pay only £12 million, not one cent more. And we, at Zenit, are ready to discuss with them about maybe a better offer from our side.

''We are ready to make a step forward to them, but they should do the same. However, I have told the people from Arsenal we are ready to discuss a lot of things to make the situation easier for them.

''They have a deadline, as I understand, until 26th January, because after that, they should have some time to get another player and I respect this position.''

Arshavin established himself as one of European football's hottest properties after some eye-catching performances at last summer's EURO 2008 tournament which attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Inter Milan and Arsenal.

Some observers expected Man City to renew their interest following their failure to land Kaka earlier this week, but so far Arsenal remain the only club in talks with Zenit over a possible move.

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