Andrei Arshavin admits time at Arsenal was ‘crushing me’.
Andrei Arshavin has revealed the monotony of life as a reserve at Arsenal almost drove him to depression.
The Russia is set to complete a free transfer to former club Zenit St Petersburg when his Arsenal contract expires on 1 July, following a frustrating season for the winger who did not register a single Premier League start.
Indeed, the 32-year-old was resigned largely to the club’s Capital One Cup campaign – usually a competition in which boss Arsene Wenger gives youth players a run out – and the Russia international says he is relieved his four-year stay in north London is at an end.
“The fact is I didn’t want to stay in England, this was clear since January,” Arshavin is quoted as saying by the Sport Review.
“I don’t regret anything, but I had to leave.
“It was a punishment sat on the bench. To train even though you know you won’t play – it is psychologically difficult.
“I nearly suffered depression, but I didn’t because I’m mentally strong. The monotony of life there was crushing me.”
After impressing in Euro 2008, Arsenal forked out a club record £15m to sign Arshavin from Zenit but after initially impressing the forward faded and barely featured in his final two seasons at the Emirates.
A four-goal haul in the 4-4 draw with Liverpool at Anfield remains Arshavin’s stand-out match but he largely failed to live up to expectations in his 144 appearances for the Gunners.