Former Arsenal star Andrei Arshavin reveals he was about to fall into depression
The Russia international has now returned to Zenit Saint Petersburg following a four-year stint with the Gunners. Arshavin, who was signed in by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for £15 million in 2009, has played less than 90 minutes in the Premier League this season.
Wenger used Arshavin mostly as a benchwarmer in his last two seasons at Arsenal. Arshavin will return to Zenit Saint Petersburg on July 1, after his contract with Arsenal expires.
In an interview to Sport Express, Arshavin admitted that lack of playing time moved him closer to deterioration in mental health.
“The fact is I didn’t want to stay in England, this was clear since January,” Arshavin said, “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.”
The Emirates boss, Wenger has also questioned the mental health of Andrei Arshavin. The French boss believes Arshavin has been down since Russia’s lack lustrous World Cup qualifying campaign.
“Andrei is very down. He came back from international duty very low and that’s the main reason I did not play him from the start against Sunderland,” Wenger said, whilst talking about the 1-0 defeat in 2009.
“You want players to be 100% focused and play a game like it’s a matter of life or death, so it is impossible not to be down if you don’t win. If you care, you are down.”
Now that the Russian star is back home, he is eager to make a comeback for club and country. According to reports, Arshavin has already inked a two-year deal with Zenit Saint Petersburg, although his contract with Arsenal will officially end at the end of this month.
“Of course I want to return to the national team as well. I do not know if the move to Zenit will help me, I just want to play football and play in my home city,” Arshavin added.