The Villans are five points clear of the Gunners at this moment in time, although with fourteen league games left, a place in next season’s Champions League is very much up for grabs. Indeed, Chelsea and even Liverpool could get sucked into the battle to be lining up for Europe’s elite competition, although Martin O’Neill’s main concern right now rests with Arsenal’s high-profile signing.
Indeed, there’s more than meets the eye about the purchase of Andrei Arshavin, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that the Midlands club want further information about the transfer.
Villa’s chief operating officer, Paul Faulkner, will seek answers from the Premier League at their quarterly meeting in London on Thursday.
The fact that Villa are in a race with Arsenal for the fourth Champions League place makes their sensitivities most acute but other clubs are privately surprised that the Premier League sanctioned the Arshavin deal.
“There is nothing out of the ordinary in the completion of the Arshavin deal,” stressed a Premier League spokesman. “Substantively, the deal between Arsenal and Zenit St Petersburg was done before the 5pm deadline.”
The word “substantively” has been seized on by certain clubs as an admission that the paperwork was not completed in time and Villa, for one, will today demand an explanation of what the Premier League exactly meant by that.
To be honest, there’s not a great deal of mileage in this from an Aston Villa point-of-view. Even if Arsenal were late signing the player, the Premier League are hardly going to consider a points deduction for the Gunners, while Arshavin will play as much as Arsene Wenger requires him to. After all, if West Ham were allowed to stay in the league two seasons ago thanks to Carlos Tevez’s performances, all Villa can do is have a little moan about the lack of transparency being shown.