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Jul 25, 2010

Arshavin tries to sell Arsenal to Akinfeev

CSKA Moscow goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has revealed he is eager to move to the Premier League, with Russia team-mate Andrei Arshavin trying to persuade him to move to Emirates Stadium.

• Iniesta: Fabregas will stay
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Both Arsenal and Manchester United have been linked with moves for Akinfeev, who was one of the star performers for his club in the Champions League last season. But he may favour a move to Arsenal, where he could expect to be immediately installed as the club's No.1 'keeper, and Arshavin is doing all he can to persuade his international colleague that North London is the place to be.

Akinfeev, 24, told the Daily Star Sunday: "Arsenal and Manchester United are two of the very best clubs in the world. If both of them are going to be looking for keepers this summer - or even the next summer - then of course I am interested.

"I have spoken with Arshavin about Arsenal and ­London life. He has only had good things to say about the club and the city. He said some very nice things about me going on to be the best goalkeeper in the world - and that he would like me to reach that goal at Arsenal with him."

Of the link to United, who awarded 39-year-old stopper Edwin van der Sar with a new deal for the 2010-11 campaign, he added: "They are a great club with a great manager. Of course there is every chance this will be the last season for Edwin Van der Sar. To be the number one for Manchester United would be a great honour too.

"They are the biggest football club in the world and, to be their number one for a length of time, you know you will have success. Juventus have also expressed an interest in me but Arshavin has sold England to me very well. My contract doesn't expire until 2013 but I have a great relationship with my president.

"If the right offer, both for me and the club came in, I don't think anybody would stand in my way. I have been in Russia for a lot of years now and feel ready for a new challenge."

But Van der Sar is in no hurry to retire even though he will be 40 in October. He said: "I have been hearing these questions for the last three or four years. Sometimes you surprise yourself also. It is a great club to be at. You play in the Premier League, the Champions League, you have a chance of winning titles and trophies and competing against the best players in the league.

"It is something that is too good not to do it any more. I still very much enjoy it. Even my age it is still a pleasure to put in all the hard work so you are in the starting XI on a Saturday and a Tuesday night.''

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