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Arshavin looks to the past as he plots life away from St Petersburg

27 January 2009 07:18
Mixed emotions: Arshavin looks set to leave the city close to his heart 'Today is a great celebration,' he said. 'To me, these are not empty words. 'I am proud that I was born in Leningrad, the city where the word "blockade" is sacred. 'It seems to me that we should always remember those people who made a stand, who were not broken, who were able to protect our homeland. 'It is sad that each year these people are becoming fewer and fewer. I wish you health, happiness and good fortune.' There was no double meaning, no crass parallel in the way that some footballers claim to be slaves, just a message of support. Arshavin delivered his words from Zenit's training camp in Dubai, where he is still waiting to find out if his transfer to Arsenal is any closer amid claim and counter-claim. Arsene Wenger says the deal is still some way off, despite Zenit's board coming out of a meeting on Monday night believing they had agreed a fee for the player. The problem that seems to remain is over who will pay what. It was thought that Arshavin had already virtually agreed terms with Arsenal, but there is now confusion over whether the negotiated salary was inclusive or exclusive of tax.   More. Arshavin drops wage demands in order to finally complete Arsenal move Ten things you need to know about Arsenal target Andrei Arshavin I'm running out of time to seal Arshavin deal, admits Arsenal boss Arsene ARSENAL FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB Throw in a£2.35m bonus payment which Zenit insist must be paid back to them by Arshavin and it is clear why this saga could roll on right up until the deadline at 5pm next Monday. That is, unless Arsenal get bored and walk away. Their patience has already been tested by the public way which the Russians have handled negotiations and they may soon decide that any more delay is not worth the hassle. Lengthy pursuit: Wenger has courted Arshavin since Euro 2008 Wenger entertained Arshavin in London before Christmas and he will be baffled that he has not yet landed a man who has been touted around Europe's top clubs and who is supposedly desperate to come to the Emirates Stadium. It was in the real Emirates where Arshavin sat down with his boss Dick Advocaat on Monday night and was apparently asked if he would work hard and give his all to Zenit if the transfer did not materialise. There has been much talk of him striking - as there was when a move to Tottenham broke down last August. He played on back then, though his form was so poor that he was accused of a 'masked strike' and the reigning champions went on to finish fifth in the Russian Premier League, missing out on qualification for next season's Champions League. Former Rangers boss Advocaat is still assuming that Arshavin will leave and has not selected him for either of Zenit's friendlies in Dubai. Fall out: Advocaat has left Asrhavin on the bench, with his move to Arsenal imminent And though he has many admirers in Russia, the general feeling is that he has to leave for the good of himself and his club. 'Shava' to his team-mates already thought he had said his goodbyes. Before taking a post-season holiday to the Dominican Republic last month he spoke about travelling on the metro in his hometown for the last time. He returned for the club's Christmas party on January 7 with the feeling that soon he would move on. Yet he may soon be returning to St Petersburg, with the first-team squad due home at the weekend. The route from the airport to the city centre brings most people past Victory Square and the huge monument to the Second World War siege of the city. Here stands the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad, a distinctly Soviet memorial in a city that is more use to a western European feel. Russian feel: The Monument to the Heroic Defenders Leningrad has changed so much in 65 years, particularly since the fall of communism and the return to city's tsarist name during Arshavin's very own lifetime. But the 160ft obelisk surrounded by giant statues and the flicker of 900 bronze lamps provides a reminder of the past. Arshavin has walked the same streets as some famous predecessors. He is never likely to be as revered as Alexander Pushkin nor as infamous as Grigori Rasputin, but his timely show of respect is a reminder to his 4.6m fellow citizens that he shares their pride. Now for a little more dignity to end a rather ugly transfer saga.   More. Arshavin drops wage demands in order to finally complete Arsenal move Ten things you need to know about Arsenal target Andrei Arshavin I'm running out of time to seal Arshavin deal, admits Arsenal boss Arsene ARSENAL FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB  

Source: Daily_Mail