According to a book released by a football agent Jon Smith, Arsenal were forced to pay almost double the price tag on Russian talent Andrei Arshavin when he moved to the Emirates.
Smith’s book titled: ‘The Deal: Inside the World of a Super-Agent,’ contained details of the deals the Gunners made years back for the former Zenit St Petersburg star.
Following a impressive display at the Euro 2008 whilst in action for the Russian national side, Arsene Wenger wanted to lure the Russian player to England. The deal was completed on January 31st, 2009 but the book claims that the London-based outfit paid much more than needed to secure the services of Arshavin.
The Russian joined Arsenal for a record fee of £15 million, even though the initial valuation was about half the price. Smith said in the book that Arsene Wenger was frustrated and had to pay double the fee as Russian leader Vladmir Putin was very much involved in the deal. He claims that the Russian president’s boyhood club was Zenit and that the club is run by state-owned energy company and sponsors of the UEFA Champions League.
“Every conversation with Arsenal was based around how Arsene was feeling and things he thought they could do to bridge the gap. Arsene was totally in control on that environment,” Smith wrote. The agent revealed that he was the bridge between Arsenal and the player as they wanted to avoid breaking the “conventional ethical boundary of not pinching other people’s staff.” He revealed that 30 percent Gunner shareholder Alisher Usmanov was the one that helped get the deal over the line.
In a surprising twist, the agent claimed he paid the difference of £1.2 million himself in order to land the Russian as the transfer window deadline was looming. Arshavin eventually joined Arsenal, scoring 31 goals in 97 games.