Andrey Arshavin arrived from Zenit St. Petersburg during the winter of 2009 as one of the most exciting prospects in European football. His great reputation was only improved when he managed the quite incredible feat of scoring all four Arsenal goals in the unforgettable draw with Liverpool at Anfield. Arsène Wenger has chosen to reward these special performances with a blockbuster deal – although the contract will still end in 2013 – but have there been enough of them to deserve it?
However, despite some impressive performances since then, his consistency has dropped considerably and he has often been described as being lazy and lacking desire to win. He has managed to score goals from the wing, which is of course a definite positive, but these come in sporadic periods and it must be difficult for Wenger to know what to expect from the Russian. He goes weeks without any special impact and yet manages to score the winner against European champions Barcelona. He is certainly something of an enigma.
On top of this, the additions of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ryo and Yossi Benayoun can only augment the worrying signs for Arshavin in terms of competition for places. This trio of attacking players are of a similar stature and style to the tiny playmaker and Chamberlain in particular proved this threat with his excellent strike against Olympiacos.
As one of the older players at the club at 30 years old, he brings with him a wealth of experience. However, he offers very little in way of leadership on the pitch, instead preferring to keep his potentially valuable advice to himself.
While still having the potential to be a main man for the Gunners, have we got the time to wait for him to regain his form or do we need to find new options elsewhere?