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Watch: How Vladimir Putin Made Arsenal Pay Up For Andrey Arshavin

By Mikey Traynor
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A rather crazy story has emerged from football agent Jon Smith's talk at the Oxford Union.

Smith was asked what the toughest negotiation he could remember was, and without hesitating he mentioned Vladimir Putin.

While acting on behalf of Arsenal, Smith tried to agree a deal with Zenit St.Petersburg for rising Russian star Andrey Arshavin, but it soon became clear that he wasn't working with the club at all.

Zenit's man was answering to the president of Gazprom, a Russian gas company that had shut off Ukraine's gas supply just a week early, but even he was answering to someone else, as Gazprom was owned by the Putin family.


Negotiations then had to take place with Putin, and he stood firm, refusing to budge until Arsenal paid the price he wanted.

(Skip to 40:30 if it doesn't put you there automatically)
[Watch Video]

No messing about. Arsenal were made to pay up the full amount and got the deal done four seconds before the window closed.


Arshavin would go on to be a wildly inconsistent player during his time in London, mixing the sublime with the ridiculous with too much unpredictability.

He would then return to Zenit on a free transfer in 2013. Well played, Mr. Putin. Well played.

[via 101greatgoals.com]


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