By Randy Osae
It took until the age of 27-years-old, at his peak and prima donna days of football for Andrei Arshavin to loom into Europe’s big time.
A man who could soon become a sung-Gunner – if Wenger does the unprecedented by splashing heavy cash for a player who is past being a gem – requires some knowing about.
So how well do you know this Russian hit-man? Had he not been linked with a transfer to Arsenal, would he even matter in your researches?
Well, Arsenal SPOT will introduce you to Andrei Arshavin.
Here is a sample video and ten scarce facts about the Russian idol.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
10 things you might not know about Arshavin
1) Andrei Sergeyevich Arshavin was born in St Petersburg – then called Leningrad – on May 29, 1981.
2) As a schoolboy, he showed great promise as a drafts player before turning his full attention to football.
3) While at university he wrote a thesis on sportswear production, but dismissed his decision to study for a diploma in fashion design as an opportunity to meet girls.
4) As a boy, he fell in love with the Barcelona team coached by Holland legend Johan Cruyff and has previously said moving to the Nou Camp would be his dream.
5) Arshavin made his debut for Zenit St Petersburg when coming on as a substitute against Bradford at Valley Parade on August 2, 2000. The Russians won the InterToto Cup semi-final match 3-0.
6) He scored 71 goals in 310 games for Zenit, while for Russia he has scored 15 in 41 caps. With Zenit he won the Russian Premier League title in 2007, the League Cup in 2003, and the UEFA Cup, European Super Cup and Russian Super Cup in 2008.
7) Individually he has won a number of player of the year awards and was ranked the sixth best player in the world in 2008 for the Ballon d’Or – won by Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.
8 ) Arshavin once stood for local elections in St Petersburg for Vladimir Putin’s United Russia but withdrew his candidacy before a vote was cast.
9) The Communists of St Petersburg group accused Arshavin of being a ‘traitor’ for his desire to leave the country. Berating him for ‘putting up his body for sale for greedy Western clubs’, they warned: ‘If you want to sign for any Western team you will lose your spiritual connection to Mother Russia and Russians will never forgive you.’
10) Arshavin may be on the verge of leaving Zenit, but he stares out from the April page of the club’s official 2009 calendar.