“Arshavin won’t be that good next season”

Andrey Arshavin (AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)
Arsenal’s signing, Andrey Arshavin, has made a sensational debut in the English Premier League, but famous FIFA agent Shandor Varga says the Russian won’t be able to do as well next season, Sovetsky-Sport reports.

Varga says he was surprised by the great football Arshavin started showing straight after arriving at Emirates Stadium in winter.

“We often talked about Andrey with Arsene Wenger [Arsenal manager]. I know that he consulted with the Russian coaches, and none of them gave absolute assurance that Arshavin would be able to show his best. But it happened as it turns out – Arshavin’s first six months [in England] were great. However, I still don’t have full confidence that next year the Russian forward will perform at the same level,” Shandor Varga said.

The agent suggest that Arshavin was the weakest player in Arsenal’s squad in an epic 4-4 draw with Liverpool at Anfield, in which the Russian scored all of his team’s goals.

“He lost all the tackles. But he changed dramatically when he received the ball… If you do an analysis of the game and watch the amount of work he did, you’ll see that he did little apart from scoring. On the other hand, I wish all players could have such ‘unaccomplished’ work,” he said.

Varga’s explanation of Arshavin’s success was a lack of recent match practice for the player.

“Andrey didn’t play that many matches, as he missed the Champions’ League and wasn’t signed for the English Cup at first. He went to the pitch once a week, which is a very comfortable schedule. Let's see how things will be in the next year, when he’ll have to play two games a week. It is extremely difficult,” Varga explained.

Shandor Varga was born in Ukraine (U.S.S.R.) in 1956. He worked in the Soviet and Hungarian Football Federation and became an agent in 1996. During those years, his biggest clients were Slavic footballers – Hristo Stoichkov, Andrey Kanchelskis, Oleg Luzhny and Sergey Rebrov.

Meanwhile, Russia’s coach Guus Hiddink doesn’t share Vraga’s concerns, and feels confident about Arshavin’s future in England.

“He’s wise enough to understand how important the physical conditions are. People are expecting a lot from Andrey, but it won’t stun him a bit. He is able to cope with the pressure; matches against Sweden and Holland at Euro 2008 prove it. Therefore, I do not think that his game will fade. If Arshavin was a youngster, that would be another case,” Guus Hiddink said to Sport-Express newspaper.

The 28-year-old made 12 appearances in the English Premier league and scored six goals. He joined Arsenal from Zenit St. Petersburg during the winter break for a club record fee of £15 million.