Akinfeev keen on Arsenal move

CSKA Moscow goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev - linked with Manchester United - has opened the door on a switch to the Premier League by declaring his interest in joining his Russian comrade Andriy Arshavin at Arsenal.

The 24-year-old is widely regarded as one of the hottest goalkeeping prospects in Europe after a string of impressive performances for CSKA in the Champions League, attracting the interest of Manchester United and Juventus.

GEAR: Get an Arshavin shirt

But the Gunners appear to have stolen a march on both the Red Devils and Old Lady after Arshavin gave his Russian team-mate a glowing reference about life at Emirates Stadium.

“Arsenal and Manchester United are two of the very best clubs in the world," Akinfeev said in The Sun.

“If both of them are going to be looking for keepers this summer – or even the next summer – then of course I am interested.

“I have spoken with Arshavin about Arsenal and London life. He has only had good things to say about the club and the city.

“He said some very nice things about me going on to be the best goalkeeper in the world – and that he would like me to reach that goal at Arsenal with him."

Despite Akinfeev talking so positively about the Gunners, the young Russian had words of encouragement for United boss Sir Alex Ferguson too.

“They [Manchester United] are a great club with a great manager. Of course there is every chance this will be the last season for Edwin Van der Sar," he continued.

“To be the No.1 for Manchester United would be a great honour too.

“They are the biggest football club in the world and, to be their No.1 for a length of time, you know you will have success."

Italian giants Juventus had identified Akinfeev as the long-term successor to Gianluigi Buffon but the CSKA star would prefer a move to England.

“Juventus have also expressed an interest in me – but Arshavin has sold England to me very well.

“I have been in Russia for a lot of years now and feel ready for a new challenge.”

Arsene Wenger continues to be linked with goalkeepers - including Fulham's Mark Schwarzer - with question marks remaining over the long-term futures of both Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski.

By James Martini

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