Wenger eyes Arshavin factor
Arsene Wenger is backing Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin to prove a valuable asset for the club.
Last Updated: 15/03/09 9:48pm
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is backing Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin to prove a valuable asset for the club.
Arshavin has been steadily building up his match fitness since he joined the Gunners from Zenit St Petersburg in the winter transfer window.
And it appears the attacker is finding his feet in England after he netted a brilliant solo goal in Saturday's 4-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.
Wenger said: "He has worked hard. I think he's quite surprised how hard he's worked.
"But I think he is a man of challenges. To leave St Petersburg, where he was the star, and to go to England at 28 years of age and to say 'okay, I want to start it all again', you need to have character and to like challenges.
"He has had a full pre-season (training programme) because in Russia they had stopped. In his first game, people saw him having had only 10 days' training.
"I like players like him who, in the final third, can give you hope and create something you don't expect. I felt we needed that with the players we have and with the type of game we like to play.
"But also he has won before and he has experience. We are very, very young.
"We sold (Alexander) Hleb, and (Tomas) Rosicky we have lost for 14 months. They were in the right age category, between 27 and 30, and we were a bit short at that level."