EXCLUSIVE: Lazio plan £6m Arshavin swoop
Published 22:31 17/01/12 By John Cross
Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin is a cut-price £6million January target for Lazio.
The Italian giants are ready to move in and present the Gunners with a dilemma over whether they should cut their losses and sell Arshavin, who has 18 months left on his contract.
The Mirror revealed last month that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could be ready to listen to offers, although he will not want to leave himself short of cover.
Arshavin, a £12m signing three years ago, is out of contract in the summer of 2013 and his value will diminish this summer - Wenger has already hinted that Arsenal will not offer him a new deal.
Wenger is currently without Gervinho because of is on Africa Cup of Nations duty, but Arsenal have re-signed Thierry Henry on a short-term loan.
The New York Red Bulls star is expected to play on the left once he reaches full match fitness.
Arshavin's former club Zenit St Petersburg have also admitted they are watching developments, while Galatasaray of Turkey were keen last summer.
Wenger has always been keen to back Arshavin because of his assists record, but the 30-year-old has not been a regular starter for Arsenal this season, despite being one of their top earners.
Arshavin's form has been a source of frustration and, even though he prefers a central role, he offers very little protection to a full back when he plays wide and it is believed some of his team mates have been left frustrated by him.
Arsenal are already trying to tie down 28-year-old captain Robin van Persie, who also has he has 18 months left on his current deal.
But Wenger admis it is a different situation with Arshavin.
"He is a bit older than Van Persie," said the Frenchman. "Sometimes the visual impression you get from a game has been frustrating, but he is very efficient. We can all have big responsibility but we need confidence for what we do."
Arsenal are confident of having Thomas Vermaelen back from a calf injury to face Manchester United on Sunday.
The Belgian will slot straight in at left back, which reduces the chances of Wenger signing cover for the position on loan this month even though he has four full-backs out injured.
Midfielder Mikel Arteta is receiving intensive treatment on the calf problem which forced him to miss Sunday's defeat at Swansea, but is a major doubt for the weekend.