Arsenal ready to sell Arshavin
Moscow - Arsenal are ready to sell out of favour Russian midfielder Andrei Arshavin to his home club Zenit Saint Petersburg for his original transfer sum of 16.5 million euros, a report said on Wednesday.
Moscow's respected Sovietsky Sport daily said Zenit was interested in acquiring the 30-year-old Russia skipper and eventually assigning him to coach its youth club.
Sovietsky Sport said its source confirmed that "Arsenal are ready to enter negotiations with Zenit."
The report comes on the heels of British media speculation that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had decided to part with his struggling playmaker during the January transfer window.
"We are always interested in Arshavin," Zenit director Igor Korneyev told Sovietsky Sport.
"But I can neither confirm nor deny whether we have received an offer."
Arshavin's stock soared when he spearheaded one of the most dazzling Russian sides in decades to a semi-final appearance at the Euro 2008 championship.
Arsenal signed him early the following year after paying a 16.5 million euro transfer and saw him make an immediate impact with six goals in 12 games.
But he's only scored once in the Premier League in 13 appearances this season and has only started for the squad on six occasions.
Arshavin's return to Russia has been rumoured repeatedly and he most recently denied interest in the big-spending Russian upstarts Anzhi Makhachkala - the new home of Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o.
But Arshavin is reportedly frustrated that a lack of regular playing time is hurting his chances of making Russia's Euro 2012 team and is now more serious about making a move.
Sovietsky Sport said all transfer decisions at Zenit were made by the club's sponsor Gazprom and that the Russian natural gas giant - while currently looking for a striker - had long-term plans for its home darling.
"The player's return is possible if he decides on it," Gazprom boss Alexei Miller was quoted as saying earlier this month.
"We all have to return to our homelands sooner or later," Miller said.