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The last time Arsenal signed a twinkle-toed Russian who had commanded the world’s attention with his breakout performance at a major tournament, they had to wait 228 days, into the depths of winter, to finally get him. Even then, the capture of Andrei Arshavin was only confirmed after a snowstorm that delayed the deal until 23 hours after the 2009 winter transfer window closed.
If, 10 years on from Arshavin’s virtuoso tournament at Euro 2008, Arsenal are indeed in the market to sign a player who is assuming a similar stature for Russia, it is unlikely they will be able to wait so long to recruit Aleksandr Golovin. After his opening performance at his home World Cup, his agent will not be short of phone calls this wee
Arsenal cannot be accused of being bandwagon-jumpers if they do step up their interest in the delicate 22-year-old playmaker after he contributed two assists and a gorgeous free-kick goal to Russia’s emphatic 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia on Thursday. Arsenal have been credited with an interest for months now, even before Golovin struck a similarly gorgeous free kick in CSKA Moscow’s 4-1 loss at Emirates Stadium in the Europa League in April.
After an impressive performance from Golovin in the return fixture, and with Arsenal safely through, then-manager Arsene Wenger let his guard down and showed his admiration for the man who had just run rings around his midfield. “I would say Golovin is a very interesting player,” Wenger said. “He had an outstanding game tonight again. But at the moment we are not in transfer mode.”
Now, emphatically, they are. Wenger has gone but Sven Mislintat remains and he has to complete all his summer transfer work, with the approval of head coach Unai Emery, by the truncated deadline of Aug. 9 this year. With the World Cup eating up five weeks, it leaves previous little time to get everything done.