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Arshavin could make north London derby debut

  • Story Highlights
  • Andrey Arshavin waits on debut appearance for Arsenal in local derby
  • Arsenal play Tottenham in north London showdown with Russian a possible sub
  • Arshavin signed for Arsenal on Monday in $27 million deal which many questioned
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(CNN) -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has not ruled out throwing record signing Andrey Arshavin into the heat of a north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday despite the Russian not being fully match fit.

Russian international Arshavin has a chance of playing against Tottenham in the derby.

Russian international Arshavin has a chance of playing against Tottenham in the derby.

Wenger has high hopes for the Russian, but is likely to restrict any appearance at White Hart Lane to the role of substitute.

"I believe he is talented, intelligent and motivated," Wenger told Press Association on Friday.

"When you have these things together, you always have a chance to make an impact.

"But you have to give him time as well. He is not fit at the moment because he had only 10 days preparation after a long break.

"The worst thing for a player is not being ready to play in a game of that intensity, or getting injured before having kicked a ball for the team.

"I will see what kind of shape he is in on Saturday to see if he will be involved in the squad or not. We are not in a hurry with him."

Arshavin's protracted transfer was finally ratified on Tuesday and led many to question its legitimacy, but Wenger said that Arsenal had "nothing to hide" over the late transfer deadline day move.

"We have done nothing wrong," he added.

"We were not the only one in this case. In every transfer window you have at least 10 or 15 clubs who have to wait until the next morning usually to get agreement from the Premier League.

"We just didn't want to announce it as long as it wasn't officially accepted."

Arshavin, who had to return to Russia to obtain a work permit, has not played a competitive match since their domestic season ended in November.

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Arsenal moved for him after outstanding performances for UEFA Cup holders Zenit St. Petersburg and the Russian national team at Euro 2008.

Wenger's men are unbeaten in 10 league games, but need victory against their bitter local rivals to revive their title challenge and close on a top four placing to ensure Champions League qualification.

Tottenham, who will give transfer deadline day signing Robbie Keane his first start in his second spell with the club, are also in need of points to move away from the relegation battle, but Wenger says his team will have the edge.

"We are more solid, we look determined and we are -- they are qualities that will be needed in a derby."

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