By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger believes that Andrey Arshavin can answer all the questions surrounding the success of Russian players in English football.
The new signing from Zenit St Petersburg will be involved in Saturday’s game against Sunderland, though the manager is yet to decide if he will start on the pitch or on the bench.
Should he play, Arshavin will become the first Russian to represent Arsenal. Surprisingly few players from that country have made a significant impact in English football. But then, as Wenger admits, there is adaptation needed on and off the field.
"You can never be sure 100 per cent about any player,” said Wenger on Friday. “But [Arshavin] has personality, class and vision. In football those are the most important things.
“Yes, there has always been a question mark about whether Russian players would make it over here or not. I believe there is a culture-shock. It is not like coming from Wales!
“But I have watched him many times over the seasons. It wasn't only at the Euros, I saw him against Munich, Real Madrid and a few other games.
"Also Russia is a massive country. He played for years with a club which wasn't successful but in the last few years everyone has started to speak about Zenit.
"Today, he is a super player in Russia and that is not easy. It means you're an outstanding player and you must have some talent.”Copyright 2013 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 20 Feb 2009