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Feb 3, 2009

Zenit claim Arshavin deal is done, as Gunners wait

Arsenal remain hopeful of completing the dramatic signing of Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin after a frenetic day of negotiations in north London, while Zenit claim the deal is already done for a total fee of £16.9m.

The 27-year-old's proposed move missed Monday's 5pm transfer deadline, though Arsenal remain confident that the player's move will go through. The Gunners must wait for the Premier League to confirm that the deal can be done via their ratification process, which is expected on Tuesday.

It is understood an agreement between all parties over fees and personal terms was agreed in time for the necessary paperwork to be submitted to the Premier League ahead of the deadline.

However, it is understood that Zenit were demanding the player compensate them by repaying part of a loyalty fee paid upfront to Arshavin when he signed his four-year contract in 2006.

Arsenal have yet to confirm Arshavin is their player, but Zenit, who have chosen to conduct much of their negotiations in public, reported on their official website that the deal has been completed, although they have credited a Russian news agency for the story.

"Zenit, Arsenal and Andrei Arshavin have concluded talks in London," the report reads. "An FC Zenit source has [said] that the talks were successful, and Arshavin is moving to Arsenal. The signed documents have already been sent to the English Football Association [Premier League].

"The St Petersburg club will receive £16.5m - £15m for the transfer of the player and £1.5m compensation for breaking a long-term contract.

"In addition there is a further 500,000 Euros in bonuses which Arshavin has not yet received which will not be paid and instead make up part of the transfer sum. The overall sum of the transfer is around USD 24m [£16.9m]."

Should those figures eventually be ratified, then it would make the deal a transfer record for the Gunners.

Arshavin, who is reported to have been prepared to take a pay cut to join Arsenal, jetted into London on Sunday for a medical to complete the deal and looks set to wear the number 13 shirt vacated by Alexander Hleb when he joined Barcelona last year.

Wenger has long been an admirer of the 27-year-old Russian international, who shot to prominence at Euro 2008 - and could hand Arshavin his debut in Sunday's north-London derby at Tottenham.

Arshavin revealed on his personal website, details of the deal should be announced later on Tuesday.

Asked if he was now an Arsenal player, the Russian international said: ''I think so. The negotiations came to a close and there will be details [on Tuesday].

''Now I can say only one thing - that if I play for Arsenal, it will be at number 23.''

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