Newly-promoted Premier League outfit Reading are considering a shock move for out-of-favour Arsenal midfielder Andrei Arshavin. The Royals have yet to win a game this season and are in the relegation zone with only five points from nine games so far. The team were also involved in a thrilling but ultimately heart-breaking 5-7 defeat to the Gunners on 30 October, in a Capital One Cup game in which they were 4-0 up at one point.
It would appear the 31-year-old Arshavin, who spent part of last season on loan with former club Zenit St Petersburg in Russia, caught the eye of the Royals' owner - compatriot Anton Zingarevich - in the 5-7 defeat. Arshavin started the game and played a key role in the Gunners' turnaround. However, Zingarevich added that Arshavin was not the only player the club were interested in.
"Arshavin is interesting for Reading," the club owner was quoted as telling Russian sports Web site sbp.kp.ru, "But he is one of 10 players that we are interested in."
Arshavin's contract with the Emirates club ends next summer and the Russian will probably leave on a free transfer, along with a number of others, including Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh and French defender Sebastian Squillaci. The club are understood to have an active interest in Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha and are also bracing for the exit of England international Theo Walcott, who has yet to agree to a new contract. Academy product Serge Gnabry is likely to see more first team action in the future and be groomed to provide cover for German international Lukas Podolski.
Sagna Has Faith in Youngster
Meanwhile, Arsenal's French right-back, Bacary Sagna, has indicated 20-year-old Carl Jenkinson has the ability to be one of the best full-backs around, following the player's rise from the youth academy this season.
The defender made his first-team debut in the humiliating 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford and was one of the few bright spots on that occasion. Since then, particularly with the long-term injury to Sagna, Jenkinson has established himself as a key member of Arsene Wenger's first team and is on the verge of a call-up to the England senior team.
"I am very happy for him because he did very well. For me it will push me to give the maximum game by game. I have the opportunity now so I will give the maximum. If he is playing then I will push him to become one of the best right backs. And that is what he has the potential to be," Sagna, 29, said.