Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that club record signing Andrei Arshavin will make his debut against Sunderland at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The 27-year-old was named as a substitute for north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur shortly after his arrival from Zenit St Petersburg in early February, but did not make an appearance.
Arshavin has not played a competitive match since December 10, when Zenit lost 3-0 to Real Madrid in the Champions League and Wenger is undecided on whether he will start Arshavin against Sunderland or bring him on from the bench.
“He will be involved,” Wenger told Arsenal TV. “But I have not decided what I will do with him yet.”
The Gunners boss still has few reservations over the midfielder’s match fitness but expects Arshavin to be fully ready in a week’s time.
“He is still working on preparation and he is not qualified for the (Champions League) game against Roma (on Tuesday) so we can give him another week of hard work,” said Wenger.
“At the end of next week, that will be three weeks with us and one week with Zenit, that should be enough.”
However, Wenger suffered a setback when striker Eduardo was ruled out for two weeks with a hamstring injury just days after returning from a broken leg.
Wenger said: “Eduardo is out for two weeks. He picked up a hamstring injury two minutes before I took him off. What a nightmare.
“Nobody knows how it happened but I knew straight away after the game it would be a two-week job.
“It is nothing like he had before but I do know that little setbacks like this are part of being nine months out. After that long out, nobody plays six months on the trot. It is impossible.
“But at the same time it is a blow because, of course, he can score goals. He had shown that on Monday night.”