Andrei Arshavin: Over rated and Over Priced?

Andrew BarrySenior Analyst IJuly 8, 2008

Zenit St. Petersburg starlet Andrei Arshavin has been told the only way out of Russia is a massive £24 million offer. However, Barcelona's recent bid stands at £12 million. Will they decide he's not for them?

Many keen football followers watched Euro 2008 and spotted a talent, but it wasn't too hard. Andrei Arshavin, the Russian No. 10, glistened against Sweden but really sparkled against Holland.

Barely hours had elapsed after that sensational upset of the Dutch and Arshavin was being linked to many top clubs. Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter, and Barcelona were all touted as his possible destination, but Zenit seem to have other ideas.

Despite the fact in public that the UEFA Cup holders insist they want the best for the player, their asking price is too steep for a player who is 27 and won't be in his prime for much longer. Maybe if Arshavin was 21-24, the Russians could hold Europe ransom.

However, perhaps the steep price will make top clubs think again.

Do Barcelona really want to spend that kind of money based on a two-match role in Euro 2008 and a few good games in the UEFA Cup? Perhaps the Catalan giants should reconsider that offer as they plot to reign supreme in Spain.

A look at the facts and figures tell a contrasting tale of the baby-faced Russian. They speak of an above-average player who has cemented his place at the top table in Russia. Forty-seven goals in 217 games for Zenit is a record many EPL midfielders would jump at, but how strong is the Russian league?

According to UEFA, it is the sixth-strongest league, ahead of Portugal and Holland, but a quick glance above shows why Arshavin wishes to exit town.

Even the French League ranks higher than the Russians. Their impact on the Champions League is minimal, but they do contend for the UEFA Cup regularly.

Arshavin himself in this Russian league has not dominated it in a way someone worth £24 million might. Instead, the stats tell of Roman Pavlyuchenko lighting the league up.

Alex Ferguson has reservations of signing players off the back of a few good games at the Euros.

If Barcelona wanted to sign players off the back of the European Championships, then would Theodoros Zagorakis and Angelos Charisteas be playing in the Nou Camp currently?

You get the feeling Laporta, the Barca president attempting to be re-elected, has gone for the person who impressed him at the Euros to save his career. Right so if I was to score against Sweden and Holland and set up another but then go missing dramatically against Spain, could I expect a move to Spain.

In the way world football operates these days, maybe just maybe...