Wenger: Spurs almost stole Arshavin

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has revealed the Gunners almost missed out on signing Andrei Arshavin... to north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

The Russian playmaker had been linked with both Spurs and Manchester City ever since impressing for his country during their Euro 2008 campaign, with Arshavin helping Guus Hiddink's side reach the semi-finals where they were beaten by eventual winners Spain.

And although the Gunners finally snared the 27-year-old at the end of the winter transfer window, Wenger has revealed he almost lost the pocket dynamo to Arsenal's bitter city rivals.

“Tottenham were close to signing him, but they didn’t do it in the end because of problems with negotiations," he told the official Arsenal magazine. “We have been aware of him for a long time, but basically the transfer lasted a month from the first contact with the player and his agent. The negotiations with Zenit also took a long time.”

Arshavin is expected to make his Gunners debut against Sunderland on Saturday, after being an unused substitute in the goalless draw with Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Arsenal are already without injured midfielders Cesc Fabregas, Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky, while forwards Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo are also sidelined.

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