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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 3, 2009

Arshavin transfer finally gets the go ahead

The Premier League have confirmed Andrei Arshavin is an Arsenal player after approving his move from Zenit St Petersburg.

Both the Gunners and the player himself had endured an anxious wait after a race to get a deal agreed, signed and sealed on deadline day.

The 27-year-old moves to the Gunners for an "undisclosed fee on a long-term contract" as is now the statutory transfer statement at the Emirates.

"I am so happy to be joining Arsenal. They are one of the leading football clubs in the world, with a group of fantastic young players and a great manager,'' he said.

"I am looking forward to making the Arsenal supporters happy and helping this great club win trophies. I'm happy to be an Arsenal player, it was my dream.''

The Russian revealed the prospect of playing under Wenger was one of many reasons why he had his heart set on the move.

Arshavin told Arsenal's website: "I moved because I like the Arsenal style, Wenger as a coach and I like some of their players. I followed each game from the moment when I met Arsene Wenger.

"He told me every time I talked to him, he said: ''I want you to come to Arsenal". He had confidence in me.''

When asked if he had a message to the Arsenal fans, he answered: "Trust in me and Arsenal.''

"It was a very hard few days for me but now it doesn't matter because I'm a Gunner, it's great,'' he added.

Having played for Zenit in this year's Champions League, Arshavin will not be able to play for the Gunners in the competition.

Wenger hopes the Russian will kickstart the club's campaign for qualification to the Champions League next term, however.

"We are delighted to have signed Andrei Arshavin, he is a player I have admired for a long time,'' the Frenchman said. "He is a versatile player with great experience, who will add real quality to our squad.

"Andrei is an exciting impact player with a huge amount of ability and has been an influential force with both Zenit St Petersburg and the Russian national team in recent seasons.''

Arshavin, who will wear the number 23 shirt, believes it will take him up to two weeks to return to full fitness but insisted he will have no problems adapting to the English game.

Earlier on Tuesday Zenit reported the fee to be a total of £16.95m including future incentives.

The playmaker shot to prominence at Euro 2008 after being a hugely important figure in Russia's qualifying campaign as well as being instrumental in Zenit winning the Russian title in 2007.

Arshavin played 232 games for Zenit, scoring 51 goals and was the 2006 Russian Footballer of the Year.

It seems uncertain when the player will be able to make his debut for the Gunners as he has not played since managing only the first 45 minutes of Zenit's Champions League defeat at Real Madrid on December 10. And before that Arshavin's last game was 70 minutes against Juventus on November 25.

Zenit's official website earlier on Tuesday stated: "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 [£450,000] 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 US Dollars 24m [£16.9m].''

Should those figures be correct, the deal would represent a transfer record for the unners.

Arshavin, who is reported to have been prepared to take a pay cut to join Arsenal, will now return to Russia to complete some personal arrangements before starting work at his new club.

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