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Arsenal's Arshavin 'to seal Zenit return'

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    Andrey Arshavin plays for Arsenal against Coventry at the Emirates last September. The former Russian captain Andrei Arshavin is expected Monday to seal his return to Zenit Saint Petersburg, the club that launched his career, after a fallow half decade at Arsenal. (AFP/File)

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    Andrey Arshavin plays for Russia against Greece in Warsaw in June last year during the Euro 2012 championships. The Sport Express daily said that Arshavin's move back to Zenit could be announced later Monday after he won the backing of the club's owner, the gas giant Gazprom. (AFP)

Former Russian captain Andrei Arshavin was expected Monday to seal his return to Zenit Saint Petersburg, the club that launched his career, after a fallow half decade at Arsenal.

The Sport Express daily said that Arshavin's move back to Zenit could be announced later Monday after he won the backing of the club's owner, the gas giant Gazprom.

"We have to remember that Arshavin is a product of Zenit. And I think it right that a product of Zenit finishes his career at his native club," Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller was quoted as saying.

"Arshavin is a great Russian footballer and a great Petersburg sportsman."

Miller implied that Arshavin, 32, had himself approached Zenit to ask that they take him back and the club had agreed to his approach.

Arshavin, who was briefly loaned to Zenit by the London side during the second half of the 2011/12 season, was released by the English Premier League side this close season.

The player was one of the stars of Zenit's 2008 UEFA Cup-winning side and Russia's Euro 2008 campaign then moved to north London but never fulfilled his potential despite a promising start.

Zenit are looking to reinforce their midfield after the departure of Russian star Igor Denisov, who last week joined Makhachkala big spenders Anzhi.