After a season that failed to match expectations, it’s become well established that there will be a number of players joining and leaving Arsenal this summer. The question of who will be leaving tends to drag up the same names: Denilson, Emmanuel Eboue, Gael Clichy and Nicklas Bendtner. Another name that appears more often than not is that of their little Russian, Andrey Arshavin . Has he really not done enough to justify at least another season with the club?
Arshavin was the Gunner who made the most appearances last season: 51 in total. In that time he contributed 10 goals and a number of assists. In statistical terms, Andrey Arshavin has kept producing even when his performances have appeared to be below the high standard that Arsenal players must meet.
It’s fair to say that his performances have suffered this season. Whilst at the best of times he looks tired, he has on the occasion looked completely unfit. His lack of mobility often means that his fullback is constantly exposed, confounding Arsenal’s defensive problems. His laid-back body language and casual work-ethic have, it seems, finally got to the fans, many of whom are ready to see the back of the Russian international.
With players like Samir Nasri and Theo Walcott already holding down the flanks, would Arsenal really miss him were he to go?
For all his faults, Arshavin can offer Arsenal something many other players simply can’t: a mercurial ability to produce a moment of magic out of nowhere. When Arsenal are struggling to break down a team or simply need to grab a goal, Arshavin is a useful player to have on the bench. He’s the kind of player that can create a goal against the run of play, or find his way through a sturdy, tough to break down defence.
It’s my feeling that it would be foolish for Arsenal to send Arshavin packing this summer. When you consider that they have both Carlos Vela and Tomas Rosicky on the books – two of the most ineffective wingers in world football – I would suggest that given the fact that Arshavin is more than capable of producing the goods, he’s worth keeping hold of.
What’s more if his defensive performance against Manchester United in the final weeks of last season is anything to go by, he’s more than capable of working hard when he’s motivated to do so. Perhaps it’s merely a case of Wenger instilling the right mentality into Arshavin? With the right mindset, Arshavin may well turn out to be a key figure in next year’s campaign.
Read more of Harry’s articles at This is Futbol