umbers don't add up as Wenger seeks an end to the Arshavin soap opera

30 January 2009 11:53
Andrei Arshavin's protracted transfer to Arsenal

has been dubbed 'the soap opera' in his homeland - and the latest bizarre episode sees Arsene Wenger and the Russians quibbling over how close the deal is.

With time running out to complete the transfer before the January window closes on Monday evening, Wenger admitted there were significant hurdles to overcome before the 27-year-old pitches up at the Emirates.

Wenger said earlier this week that the deal was '90 per cent completed', while talks last night and today are understood to have made significant progress.

Euro star: Andrei Arshavin scores for Russia against Holland at last summer's European Championship

A source close to negotiations told Sportsmail: 'If the deal had been 90 per cent done, we are now 95 per cent there.'

However, Wenger showed just how ridiculous the analysis was by saying: 'It is 90 per cent not done, 10 per cent done. The percentage does not have a big meaning because the 10 per cent can quickly become the 90 per cent.

'Let's see. Anyway we won't have a long time to wait because very shortly it is the transfer deadline.'

Talks continue, though reports in Russia that the deal has been concluded are premature. Wenger is unaware if the Russia striker has already been granted a work permit by the Home Office.

Arshavin will leave Zenit's training camp in Dubai tonight or early tomorrow.

When pressed as to whether this weekend was make or break, and if he wanted the deal done before kick-off in tomorrow's match, Wenger replied: 'Yes, of course, if it can be done we want it done as quickly as possible.

'You can never rule signings out but I think it is important to concentrate on the players we have. We have made serious enquiries but not made any bids.'

 Arshavin 'granted work permit' for move to Arsenal as he agrees to help fund £15m move

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Source: Daily_Mail