Despite only playing two games in Basle and Innsbruck, Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin has become the hottest property in Europe, with teams all over the continent chasing his signature.
The Zenit St Petersburg playmaker won the Russian championship and the UEFA Cup this season with his hometown club, and many predicted he would leave the club at the end of Euro 2008, something Zenit coach Dick Advocaat recently conceded.
Although banned for the opening games against Spain and Greece, in which Russia were particularlly average, he has caught the eye of scouts with his sensational play against Sweden and Holland. Playing a central role in rocketing Russia through to the semi-finals has prompted stories of £10million moves to Everton, Newcastle, Tottenham, Arsenal, Inter Milan, Juventus, Bayern Munich or Barcelona.
However, he has helped narrow down the identity of his new employers by indicating he is only interested in a move to Spain, propelling Barcelona to the front of the queue:
I know that I have offers from England and Germany, but what I really want is to play in the Primera Liga.
It’s the championship that I have always followed, I like how football is played there.
Barcelona are now seen as the favourites to sign the 27-year-old, with the press indicating that the Russian looks to be a replacement for Chelsea-bound Deco.