Arsene Wenger insists Andrey Arshavin's Arsenal career is not over but says the Russian needed to be loaned out in order to get game time.
Arshavin has moved to Zenit St Petersburg for the rest of the season, re-joining his former club on the Russian transfer deadline day.
Although the 30-year-old made a total of 27 appearances for the Gunners this season before making the switch, he was finding himself increasingly marginalised as the campaign went on.
And Wenger says that he was allowed to head back to his home country in order to give his confidence and match fitness a boost.
"First of all, things have not ended because he is still our player, he is only out on loan," Wenger told Arsenal's official website.
"I just felt he needed to play. When you are 30 and you do not play regularly, you drop your form and when you come on every time you have to produce something special.
"At that age it is very difficult. I felt he just needed a bit of confidence to play again."