Andrei Arshavin has openly expressed a desire to join Barcelona. While players do this all the time, in this case the Spanish Club has opened negotiations with the player’s current club, clearly showing intent to add the player to their squad.
As an opening salvo, the player’s current employers have agreed to let the player go provided Lionel Messi goes in the opposite direction. The offer also includes a payment of 20 million pounds to be made to Barcelona. While the offer sounds preposterous, there is actually some logic to it. But in spite of the logic, which I will come to later, it will be in Arshavin’s best interests if Barcelona rejects the offer outright and there are no further negotiations.
And here’s why
There is no place for Arshavin in the Barcelona playing eleven. A player of his class and age (at 27 he’s not a youngster exactly), should not be wasting his time getting frustrated on the bench. He will hardly have a role to play for Barcelona. And that is precisely the reason why the club should not be wasting their time chasing him and should concentrate on their other more important transfer targets.
Why there is no place for Arshavin in the Barcelona playing eleven
Arshavin can either play as a playmaker or as a second striker. Provided he joins Barca, he will be denied a chance to play in either role by Lionel Messi (the reason why Zenit’s offer could actually improve his chances of playing), Bojan Krkic, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta. These guys are proven performers at Barcelona and Pep Guardiola would not break a settled combination.
Additionally, Arshavin is at his best when the attack is built around him; like it is at Zenit and the Russian National team. There is no way he will enjoy the same luxury at Barcelona. In a best case scenario, Arshavin will be forced to play out of position or in a role that he is not too comfortable in and therefore there is little chance that Barcelona will be able to fully benefit from his talent.
Arshavin and Barcelona should learn from the past
In their recent history, Barcelona have had an embarrassment of attacking riches. Many wonderful players have borne the brunt of this surplus. The name which comes most easily to mind is that of Juan Roman Riquelme. He never got a decent chance to show his worth at Barcelona but prospered on moving to Villarreal — a club which built their attack around him. Arshavin with his close control is in many ways similar to the Argentinean.
Playing at Barcelona is a privilege but the Russian would be wiser to move to a lesser club. Not only will he get to play regularly, he will also get to play to his strengths.