Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had shown interest in Arshavin after the 2008 Euros, in which the Russian had emerged as a star for his national team, but initial discussions in the summer of 2008 proved fruitless. And, although talks resumed in the January transfer window, it appeared that those talks would similarly fail to result in an agreement. The on-again-off-again deal dragged on until the last day of the window and was not completed until late that evening.
Despite Arsenal's lengthy pursuit, their signing of Arshavin was a departure from the club's usual transfer policy under Arsene Wenger, who usually preferred not to purchase players at the peak of their career nor to make big signings in the January window.
Arshavin proved to be shrewd purchase, however. When he signed for Arsenal, the Gunners were sitting in fifth place, five points behind Aston Villa. Arshavin instantly adapted to the Premier League and began scoring for the club, including all four goals in Arsenal's 4-4 draw with Liverpool at Anfield. By the end of the season, Arsenal had overtaken Villa to finish in fourth place and qualify for the Champions League.