Vladimir Putin 'forced Arsenal to pay double' for transfer - and they obliged
Vladimir Putin once demanded that Arsenal paid twice as much as they wanted to for a transfer and the Gunners obliged, it was claimed in a book.
According to agent Jon Smith's 2016 autobiography, 'The Deal', Putin was underwhelmed by Arsenal's initial offer as they attempted to sign Andrey Arshavin from Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2009, British Daily Star reports.
Zenit are operated by the state-owned corporation Gazprom, giving Putin power when it comes to the high-profile transfers of his boyhood club.
As a result, the Russian president took it upon himself to ensure his valuation was met before he allowed Arshavin to complete his move to the Premier League side.
According to Smith, Arsenal had only been willing to pay £7million for Arshavin, while Putin valued the player at closer to £15million.
It is said that Putin was able to hold up the deal as he demanded Arsenal met his valuation, with the deal not completed until Deadline Day in January 2009.
The book also claims that Arsene Wenger even resorted to offering Zenit a place at that summer's Emirates Cup tournament.
Shareholder Alisher Usmanov is also believed to have been asked to use his connections in Russia in a desperate attempt to get the deal over the line.
Putin eventually got his way as Arshavin moved to the Emirates Stadium on the final day of the window for just under £15million.
He went on to make 145 appearances for the club, scoring a total of 31 goals and adding as further 46 assists for his team-mates.
Arshavin also famously scored four goals in one match as Arsenal played out a thrilling 4-4 draw away at Liverpool in April 2009.
After four-and-a-half years in north London, Arshavin returned to Zenit in the summer of 2013 on a free transfer before later hanging up his boots in 2019 following a stint in Kazakhstan.