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City news, 28.09.2009 15:48

Andrey Arshavin targeted for Russia return

Andrey Arshavin Billionaire backers Gazprom are ready to increase their investment in the Russian club following the start of construction on a 62,000-seat stadium bearing the company's name.

And Zenit president Alexander Dyukov says he is on permanent standby to open talks with Arsenal over the return of Arshavin, who left St Petersburg for north London in a ?15million deal in February.

The sale was followed by a budget cut by Gazprom because of the financial crisis, but the energy giant is ready to once more bankroll efforts to challenge with Europe's elite.

'We must think about stable funding for Zenit in the long term,' said Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller. 'The club have more than $60million (?37m) on their own in the past year.

'Transfers from Gazprom will not only continue, but will probably even increase. Our challenge is to become one of the best clubs in Europe and we will fulfil it.'

Arshavin has indicated he would like to go back to Zenit before the end of his career, but he is in no hurry to leave Arsenal just yet. But Dyukov will welcome him with open arms as soon as the situation changes.

'Even today we are ready to open negotiations with Arsenal,' said the Zenit head honcho. 'But I'm sure they would lead nowhere.'

Arshavin's bitter struggle to leave Zenit after Euro 2008, which included talk of a strike if he was not allowed to leave, has not soured the relationship.

The 28-year-old has since returned to the club to train and seek medical advice when back in the country on vacation or international duty and Dyukov said the very public transfer saga was down to the player's skill at media relations.

'In my opinion, Andrey only said that he wanted to move to a stronger championship and that this was his dream.

'Generally, he is good at both football and when it comes to information. He is like no other in the Russia team for being able to work with the Press and use them to promote his brand. This was such a case.

'But at the same time he played and practice with total commitment. For our part, we believe we met our obligations to Andrey.'

News source: Daily Mail Online

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