Andrey Arshavin has admitted to finding life tough going in England claiming that while he loves it here he has some difficulties in adjusting. “They say that a foreigner only adapts to London after living there for a year, so I still have three months left!” the diminutive Russian told reporters.
Domestically he says things aren`t as easy as they are in Spain and that he finds himself having to pay through the nose for everything here. “Sometimes I have to shell out to breathe!” he said. That may be partly to do with the impending hike in UK tax rates while foreign players joining a Spanish club can enjoy a five year tax rate of 23% – less than half of what he will have to pay HM Revenue & Customs from next April.
He hasn`t masked his disappointment at missing out on a move to Barcelona the summer before last and still sees the Spanish side as footballs leading entertainers.
“When the transfer collapsed, of course I was upset, but then I took it as fact. It was fate.” As he continued “I think my current club are the second most entertaining in modern football. It was well worth it.”
Apart from adapting to life in England Arshavin also has to meet the demands of football here telling the Telegraph this month that “I`m lazy. I don`t like training a lot.”
Wenger harboured doubts about Andrey`s ability to cope with the demands of the Premier League when interviewed during the 2008 Euro tournament.
“That Arshavin is a top-level talent is beyond doubt. The only issue is related to the fact that the leading leagues in the world mean you must be at the highest level of physical readiness throughout the season.
“Can he show his full potential every three days that happens every season the same in England and Spain?
“In the semi-final meeting with the Spaniards, in which Arshavin looked to be exhausted, has forced me to ask this question.”
Those are doubts Arsene had managed to overcome 6 months later when Arshavin signed for the club in January of this year. It took another month though for Arshavin to reach a level of fitness that would enable him to make his debut at the end of February.
It sometimes seems that he always appears to look exhausted, even a few minutes into the game, but he manages to pace himself well through the game and often does his best work late on. His 5 goals and 2 assists in 8 starts this season following 6 goals and 9 assists in 14 starts last season show that tired or not he can still be productive.
Arshavin can improve aspects of his overall game but he will be 29 by the end of this season so it`s probably not realistic to expect him to be very different from the player that he is now. In many ways it`s his very independence of mind and thought that gives his undoubted talent the same sort of unconventional unpredictability that Charlie George successfully brought to the team 4 decades earlier. Such talents have to be valued for what they are – and enjoyed while they can. Supporters will find themselves having to adapt to Arshavin as much as Arshavin is having to adapt to life here.
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