Fulham and Zenit make moves to sign Arshavin
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Fulham and Zenit St Petersburg have made enquiries to sign Arsenal outcast Andrey Arshavin in January, Goal.com can reveal.
Arsene Wenger is willing to listen to offers for the Russian, whose contract expires at the end of the season.
Arsenal value the 31-year-old between €5 million and £6m, and would prefer a straight sale rather than another loan in order to recover some of their estimated €17m outlay on the wide forward during the 2009 January window.
Despite rumours of interest from Reading, Goal.com understands that the two clubs who have contacted Arsenal about Arshavin are Fulham and Zenit.
Although the former Russia captain spent his entire career at Zenit before joining Arsenal, and returned to Saint Petersburg for a second spell on loan in the second half of last season, his preference is to remain in London.
Arshavin and his family are settled in the capital and would prefer to extend their time in England rather than head permanently back to Russia.
Craven Cottage manager Martin Jol is in the market for a wide midfielder in January after losing Clint Dempsey in the final hours of the August window and is a big admirer of Arshavin.
Jol believes he could offer the enigmatic wide player the same kind of opportunity to restore his reputation that the Londoners gave Dimitar Berbatov in the summer after he had fallen down the Manchester United pecking order.
However, any deal would require some lengthy negotiation, given Fulham’s strict £50,000-a-week wage ceiling.
Zenit boss Luciano Spalletti, who has guided the club to consecutive league titles, admitted in the summer that Arshavin was one of his top targets and it is understood that the big-spending Russian champions are still keen on bringing him back to his homeland.