Wenger shrugs off Arshavin talk

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Arsene Wenger insists his team are "hungrier than ever" and will not be distracted by the on-going Andrei Arshavin transfer saga as Arsenal look to reignite their Barclays Premier League title challenge at Everton.

The Gunners manager remains keen on the Russia international, although suggestions from Zenit St Petersburg that a deal is imminent are understood to be somewhat premature.

Zenit, whose domestic campaign is now completed, appear to have softened their stance over the original £20million demanded for the 27-year-old playmaker. Arsenal, though, remain resolute in their offer of £12million plus add-ons and, as yet, no further improved bid has been tabled.

Wenger accepts such speculation is part of the modern game, but will not let that detract any attention from the job in hand when his men travel to Goodison Park.

Arsenal are unbeaten in eight Premier League games, and, although they remain outside the top four, trail leaders Manchester United by just six points, albeit having played a match more.

"I feel it has overshadowed things, yes, but let's be quiet, focused and continue on," said Wenger, whose side must face Cardiff again in an FA Cup fourth-round replay next week at Emirates Stadium following Sunday's goalless draw in Wales.

"Our job is to focus on what we want to achieve.

"We got fair criticism this year, but we have overcome that and we are now hungrier than ever."

Nevertheless, Arsenal remain hopeful a deal can be concluded before the transfer window closes in six days' time, but, in line with club policy, they will not make public statements on the issue - no matter what may be said from Russia.

"For me, it is not a distraction because what is important is the team continues to focus on the championship, the FA Cup and the Champions League," said Wenger, who will have full-back Gael Clichy available after a one-match ban. "We are not close to concluding any transfer, Arshavin or anybody else. At the moment it is all quiet."

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