Russian football star Andrei Arshavin faces an uncertain future as major international clubs cast covetous glances his way while his club Zenit St Petersburg jealously guards him.
After a stand out UEFA EURO 2008 campaign, Arshavin expressed a desire to continue his career abroad, naming Spanish giants Barcelona as his dream destinate. However, Barca as well as English Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur, failed to lure Arshavin from Zenit, who demonstrated their firm intention to keep the forward in his native city, setting a transfer price of 30 million euros for him.
Arshavin and Zenit managers are still holding talks about the forward's new contract with the club. Such an uncertain position has deflated Arshavin, who has outgrown his club side in the judgment of many Russian football experts.
"I'm depressed with my uncertain position," he said in a recent interview. "We still failed to reach an agreement with the club's president due to some slight disagreements about the new contract's wording.
"But I still believe that we will work out a deal that will suit everybody in the near future. Otherwise, Zenit will lose everything after my contract expires at the end of the year."
Former Tottenham manager Terry Venables said Spurs had made a mistake by breaking off talks on Arshavin's transfer. He said Tottenham's management team had been set to sign Arshavin during the upcoming winter's transfer period, forming a Russian attacking duo together with new recruit Roman Pavlyuchenko.
"Together with Pavlyuchenko, Arshavin could form a perfect pair in attack," Veneables said. "This duo could transfer their successful performance at Euro-2008 to the English Premisership. Spurs still have a chance to form the Russian arrowhead if they sign Arshavin during the winter transfer window."
But Arshavin's agent suggested the player would only sign for a Premier League top four club, not good news for Spurs now footing the table after their worst start since 1912.
"," Arshavin's representive Dennis Lachter told British media on Monday. "It's not about money, it's about a team and professional ambition," he added.
The 27-year-old Arshavin has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the last two years. He was named Russia's Player of the Year in 2006 and went on to win his first Russian title with the Saint Petersburg side Zenit.
In May this year he helped Zenit to overcome some top European football sides to clinch the UEFA Cup, beating Rangers of Scotland 2-0 in the final. He then put in a fine display for Zenit against English giants Manchester United with a 2-1 victory in the UEFA European Supercup.
In between these two remarkable wins Arshavin produced some virtuoso performances for Russia that stamped the slight forward as one of the players of UEFA EURO 2008 ahead of the likes of Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Holland's Wesley Sneijder. Arshavin was forced to sit out Russia's opening two games against Spain and Greece after he was sent off in Russia's last qualifier at Andorra but once free of his ban left an indelible mark on the tournament.
After a 4-1 defeat at the hands of ultimate victors Spain, Russia beat both of their other group opponents Greece and Sweden to book a pass into the knockout stage. In a spectacular quarter-final clash with the championship's clear favourites, the Netherlands, Russia won 3-1 with Arshavin in a starring role, taking his country to the semi-finals, where they again lost to Spain 3-0.