Andrey Arshavin is set to leave Arsenal in the summer, with Chelsea lining up an offer for the midfielder as they look to reunite Russia's successful 2018 World Cup bid duo of Arshavin and Roman Abramovich – according to a report in The News of the World.
The Russian playmaker has recently been linked with a move away from the Emirates, as he is reportedly unhappy at the club.
Despite contributing seven goals in all competitions this term and leading the way with assists, Arshavin has been going through an indifferent spell of form, and has been dropped to the bench in recent weeks.
His situation is said to be pushing the winger to contemplate a move to Arsenal's rivals Chelsea, particularly as Blues owner Abramovich has formed a solid relationship with Arshavin after the pair worked together successfully on Russia’s 2018 World Cup bid.
However, Chelsea will have to compete for his signature. Arshavin’s former club Zenit St Petersburg claimed last week that the door will always be open for his return to the club whom he helped guide to domestic and Uefa Cup glory.
With less than 18 months left on his current contract and his 30th birthday approaching, it is speculated that it would cost around £10 million to acquire the Russian’s services.
Some Arsenal fans may have become disillusioned with Arshavin lately, but the statistics back his value to the team, revealing that he has contributed more per game than the highly rated, in-form Samir Nasri.
In the Premier League, Arshavin has scored four goals and provided nine assists so far this season, while Nasri - Arsenal's leading goalscorer with nine in the League - has provided only one assist.
Arshavin is currently placed 20th in the Castrol Rankings, up from 31st the previous month, while Nasri is ranked 42nd, up from 70th a month ago.
Manager Arsene Wenger remains convinced of Arshavin's worth, recently commenting: "He is going through a period that is a bit difficult at the moment, but he works very hard in training."
The Arsenal boss has been negotiating a new contract with the Russian since July last year, but has failed to reach an agreement with the midfielder because of his policy of offering only one-year deals for players over 30.
Wenger is hoping not to lose any players during the January transfer window, as his side remain in contention for honours on four fronts.
German club Wolfsburg, managed by former England boss Steve McClaren, are said to be looking to invest some of the £27m they received from Manchester City for striker Edin Dzeko in Nicklas Bendtner, who is struggling to claim a regular starting berth at the Emirates.
Bendtner has fallen down the pecking order following the summer arrival of Marouane Chamakh, and has publicly stated his willingness to leave the club if he is not picked to play more often.