MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti) - Zenit St. Petersburg forward Andrei Arshavin has said he believes his prospects of a move to English Premier League side Arsenal are declining.
The player was speaking from the Russian club's preseason training camp in the United Arab Emirates.
"Media reports reaching me here in Dubai are contradictory," he told Sport Express. "I am still waiting for a final resolution to the situation, but I am aware that my chances of a move are decreasing."
Arsenal managed Arsene Wenger has dismissed earlier reports that the north London club and Zenit have agreed on a price for the 27-year-old forward.
However, Zenit officials say only Arshavin's unwillingness to accept a wage cut is holding up the move. They have also suggested that he should repay half of a $5 million bonus paid to the player in 2006 for signing a four-year contract.
"The contract has only been half fulfilled, and therefore it is logical that he should return half of the sum to Zenit," the club's general director, Maxim Mitrofanov, told Sovetski Sport.
"Arsenal cannot raise their offer above 15 million pounds [$21.5 million]. For Zenit, 18 million pounds would be an acceptable sum. Where can we find the extra three million? According to the English club, Arshavin is asking for salary of 3.5 million pounds a year after tax. If he agreed to 2.5 million, Arsenal would save four million in four years, and three of these could be transferred to Zenit," he went on.
"The question therefore arises - what does Arshavin really want? To play his favorite sport or to enrich himself financially?" Mitrofanov said.
Reacting to reports that Arshavin was seeking a wage increase in order to finance his payback of 50% of his 2006 signing-on bonus, Wenger told the official Arsenal website on Wednesday that, "The players who come in here are all on our wage structure or they do not come in. It's as simple as that. Nobody will come in above the highest level we have here."
Arshavin was linked with a number of clubs, including Barcelona and Tottenham, in the summer after leading Russia to the semifinals of Euro 2008. However, Gazprom-controlled Zenit subsequently turned down a number of offers, reportedly in excess of $30 million, as "too low." Although they have since dropped their price, a conclusion to the long-running saga hardly seems closer. The transfer window closes at 5:00 p.m. GMT on February 2.