Will Arshavin stay? The dark clouds seem to be gathering

Is Arshavin leaving this summer? I don’t know, but some of his rumblings are causing me concern. The Russian wizard definitely thinks differently, at the best of times. Add in the cultural differences, inaccurate translations and the best fan Q&A forum in the world (check out Arseblog’s highlights) and he’s a total mystery at times. But what seems to be a continued lack of adaption to the London scene and sometimes cynical approach are causing me some concern. I worry if he’s happy at Arsenal.

To be sure, this is not a critique of Arshavin.  He has been professional and given his all. For much of the season he has played out of position for us (like many other players) and he has also played with an injury for a large part of the season as well. He’s having a bit of a rough scoring patch right now, but again, I think that’s because of his positioning and injury. He’s also been stellar creating opportunities for others. So he still has my full backing and I completely expect him to explode on some team in the near future.

But lets face it, Arshavin is a bit special for a variety of reasons. For one, apparently only Rosicky can even speak to Arshavin with any fluency. This means he’s somewhat isolated on the team. You can see that sometimes when his frustrations in communication boil over when trying to speak with the other players. This is a big change from being The Leader on the Russian national team and at Zenit. Also, he was a big money purchase in a complicated process and seemed to be more interested in Barcelona at times. More problematic, he and his wife, have made no secret of their irritation at life in London. Finally, Arshavin is also older than many of the players so his window for success is shrinking.

So, when Arshavin speaks, in that funny way he does, I listen. Many times his comment come off harsh. Not everything he says is wrong, mind.  In fact, much of what he says isn’t wrong: need for fresh blood, need to man up and so forth. He’s another leader on the team. And of course, there’s always the lost in translation issue.

In the end, I would hate to lose the little Russian. At minimum, because I love having a Russian on the team. So if he leaves, we need to pick up that CSKA Moscow goalkeeper or whomever. But seriously, he’s a fantastic player. Every time he has the ball on the run I have hope and the other team has fear. I don’t want him to leave. But I worry if he’s happy at Arsenal.

-the student

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