Arsenal have finally completed the signing of Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin from Zenit St Petersburg, the English Premier League club announced. The midfielder, 27, signed a long-term (believed to be three-and-a-half-year) contract with the north London club on Monday, transfer deadline day, after the two clubs agreed terms.
Confirmation of the move was held up until the Premier League was finally able to ratify the deal on Tuesday afternoon. The exact amount paid by Arsenal is subject to dispute with sources at the club quoting a figure of around 12 million pounds while Zenit claim the deal was worth more than 16 million pounds to them.
If the Russian version of events proves to be true, Arshavin will be the club's most expensive signing. The 41-times capped international will be available to play in Sunday's north London derby at Tottenham. But with the Russian domestic season having finished in November, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger may prefer to give his latest recruit more time to recover full match fitness.
Arshavin helped Zenit win the UEFA Cup last season and, with a win over Manchester United, the European Super Cup last August. He scored twice for Russia in three matches at UEFA EURO 2008, where he was named in the team of the tournament.
Wenger says he has admired Arshavin for a long time. "He is a versatile player with great experience, who will add real quality to our squad. Andrei is an exciting impact player with a huge amount of ability and has been an influential force with both Zenit St Petersburg and the Russian national team in recent seasons."
Arshavin added: "I am so happy to be joining Arsenal. They are one of the leading football clubs in the world, with a group of fantastic young players and a great manager. I am looking forward to making the Arsenal supporters happy and helping this great club win trophies."
Arshavin is not eligible to play for Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League this season as he played for Zenit in the group stage. The Russian will wear the No23 shirt at his new club.