By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger insists that Andrey Arshavin's transfer to Arsenal was 'clean'.
The Russian international's move to Emirates Stadium was confirmed late on Tuesday afternoon - 24 hours after the transfer window closed. The timing of the announcement raised a few eyebrows among the footballing fraternity with Aston Villa and Reading reportedly concerned that Arsenal had missed the deadline.
However, the Premier League have confirmed that all the relevant paperwork for the transfer was completed on time. At his pre-match press conference on Friday, Wenger was adamant that Arsenal had done no wrong.
"It was done in the last minute but regularly," he said. "We have nothing to hide. We just did the deal very late in the afternoon, sent it to the Premier League and they ratified it.
"Of course, we want everybody to question the deal. If the deal was not right we would have cancelled the transfer and accepted it. We have done nothing wrong.
"We were not the only one in this situation. In every transfer window you have at least 10 or 15 clubs who have to wait until the next morning usually to get agreement from the Premier League. We just didn't want to announce it as long as it wasn't officially accepted."
Reading manager Steve Coppell attacked the Premier League's decision to ratify the transfer, describing the Arshavin deal as "a sham". Wenger was quick to dismiss Coppell's complaints.
"I don’t know what can be criticised," he said.
"We are used to being criticised but I don’t really understand why. We have done the deal like any deal has to be done and I don’t believe we have done anything wrong. I don’t really understand that."Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 6 Feb 2009