Arsenal on Ashavin alert as Advocaat admits defeat
Zenit St Petersburg coach Dick Advocaat is resigned to losing star man Andrei Arshavin with Arsenal looking the most likely destination.
Arshavin has been a target for a number of Europe's top clubs since his excellent displays at Euro 2008 and it now looks as though the Gunners are stepping up their bid to bring him to the Emirates Stadium.
Certainly, Zenit boss Advocaat does not expect to have Arshavin at his disposal for much longer.
He said: ''I am aware that Arsenal are interested but I don't know any more than that. However, I am expecting Arshavin to leave Zenit for another club.
''He is a top player and he could play for any team and any of the top teams in England, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool.
''He was voted player of the year by the sportswriters last season - and we know that they know everything!
''Arshavin played well for us last season but he didn't play as well as he can. There is still more to come from him and people will see that.''
''In principle, I have already bought Arshavin's successor, Danny, because I thought Arshavin was going to leave last year so Zenit. Danny can play in the same position as Arshavin so we won't be disrupted when he goes.''
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has money to spend should he wish to strengthen the squad during the January transfer window - but maintains business will be done only for an ''exceptional talent''.
Arshavin would appear to fit that bill, and even the fact he will be cup-tied for the Champions League knock-out phase would not deter Wenger if it meant signing a quality player.
For Zenit's part, Advocaat believes Danny, the Portuguese midfielder who Zenit signed for around £24million, will become the new focal point for the Russian side.