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Jan 27, 2009

Wenger won't be distracted by Arshavin talk

Arsene Wenger has tried to put the long-running Andrei Arshavin transfer saga on the backburner as he prepares for his team's trip to Everton. Suggestions from Zenit St Petersburg that a deal is imminent have rebuffed by the Gunners boss, though he remains keen on the Russian.

Wenger insists all the talk and speculation is irrelevant as he looks to keep his side's momentum running after eight unbeaten Premier League games and climb back into the top four - and the title race.

"It is not true a fee has been agreed. We are not close to concluding any transfer; Arshavin or anybody else. At the moment it is all quiet," Wenger said.

"For me, it is of little interest. I can understand that when the transfer window is open, it makes headlines. I like quality football, and for me that is more important than having one more player here."

Wenger added: "Time is getting short and at the moment I am more focused to win the game tomorrow.

Nevertheless, Arsenal remain hopeful a deal can be concluded before the transfer window closes in six days' time.

"I am only responsible for the statements we make, but I cannot be responsible for the statements that other clubs make," said Wenger.

"Zenit look to have different voices coming out of the club and I am not sure if it always the official voice. I believe what I see and what I hear directly."

Zenit St Petersburg general director Maxim Mitrofanov contradicted Wenger by saying a fee had been agreed for the player but that his financial demands were holding things up.

"I think that we are very close to a deal, we really want to sell him but I hope the player can forget about the huge sums of money he is asking for and I hope he can find a compromise," Mitrofanov said.

"Unfortunately the player has taken the position that he does not want to compromise with either club.

"We have written again to Arsenal and we understand their position. We really want to sell him but it is up to the player to make a step."

Asked if he thought the move could be settled by Monday's final day of the transfer window, Mitrofanov said: "I don't know but I worry the deal might not be done. I hope he can find a compromise but he wants too much money from Arsenal.

"I've spoken to him personally and told him we are ready but it is his decision. Is it his dream or is it just a question of money?"

Arsenal have also been linked with a move for Manchester City's England defender Micah Richards.

However, Wenger maintained: "I like the player, but I have not gone for him, no."

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