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English Premier League

Villa deny making complaint over Arshavin deal

Aston Villa have refuted newspaper reports that they will lodge a complaint over Arsenal's deal to sign Russia international Andrei Arshavin.

Villa's chief operating officer Paul Faulkner attended a meeting of the Premier League in London on Thursday, a quarterly meeting of top flight clubs, and it was claimed he would raise the issue..

However, the meeting passed without discussion of the transfer.

It had been claimed that the club, currently sitting in the Champions League places in the Premier League and five points clear of Arsenal, were unhappy with the deal being approved 24 hours after the transfer window closed.

While manager Martin O'Neill has not hidden his disapproval of the way the transfer window works, especially with the extension for the poor weather despite clubs having 33 days to plan their deals, he is not concerned by it.

It is understood that the issue - which also encompasses Stephen Kelly's late switch from Birmingham to Stoke - was not on the agenda for the meeting and was not brought up by any of the member clubs.

Asked whether the Arshavin deal had been discussed, Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards said: "No. It was a great meeting, but no.''

Villa defender Curtis Davies played down the significance of the timing of the Arshavin deal. He said: "The Premier League would not have allowed the Arsenal deal to happen if it wasn't all above board.

"It is a matter of hours. It is not like he signed two months down the line.''

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis feels the protracted transfer of Andrei Arshavin has been overly "dramatised''.

A Premier statement said the deal was done "substantively'' ahead of the window closing.

"We probably bored everybody, and I think everyone got a bit tired of the on-going story,'' Gazidis told Arsenal's website. "It took longer than anybody would have wanted to get to a conclusion, but we got there in the end.

"People dramatise these things a little bit. It was never on until it finally got done, but it was not on and off through the day either. Certainly it went closer to the deadline than I would have liked, but sometimes you have to do that to finally push it over the finish line.''


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