It is easy to pinpoint the moment that Andrei Arshavin's value to Arsenal finally expired: January 20, when he made his final appearance for the club in a Premier League defeat to Chelsea. Arsenal's record signing sat out the rest of the season. He wasn't injured to any significant degree. Just irrelevant.
What is harder to identify is the moment - if indeed one exists - that Arshavin no longer felt compelled to properly pursue a career as an Arsenal player. Certainly that was how it felt when watching him trundle through games with no apparent urgency or desire, resting his arms on his knees after a short sprint.
A career that promised so much in its infancy culminated in so little and his departure from the club was finally confirmed on Wednesday. In truth he has had the air of an ex-Arsenal player for rather longer.
It all looked so promising at the start. In January 2009, with London carpeted in a thick layer of snow, it seemed Russia's electric playmaker and captain had found a new environment favourable to his ambition. For six months, Arshavin looked capable of carrying over his quite astonishing form from Euro 2008 and Zenit St Petersburg's UEFA Cup triumph in the same year.
The £15 million signing did elevate Arsenal initially. A stale side was given fresh impetus by his arrival, a four-goal performance at Anfield the brightest moment in a fine six months that hinted at a star in the making.
Indeed, this website even named him in the top 10 players in the world in the summer of 2009. It looks completely ridiculous now, but at the time it was certainly arguable. What a fall from grace.
Now Arshavin can only be seen as a wasted talent - perhaps the biggest waste of money in Arsene Wenger's career. You can probably forgive the Arsenal manager if the Arshavin experience has warned him off big-money signings in future.
Because Arshavin was always a desperately atypical Wenger signing, and he confirmed all the economists' fears. Purchased at near the peak of his value, the Russian offered horribly diminishing returns and, ultimately, no resale value as he leaves on a free transfer at the age of 32.
So, what went wrong?
Certainly there is an argument that Arshavin was never played in his favoured position. When placed behind the striker in the Carling Cup in October 2011 he looked a player capable of lighting up a match, but due to the prominence of Cesc Fabregas, and later a change in formation following the sale of the Spaniard, Wenger always used him out wide.
The Russian also appeared to be knocked off balance by a spell operating as the falsest of false nines following an injury to Robin van Persie in late 2009 - his first full season. It was also at this point that he suffered the great personal disappointment of seeing the Russia side he captained fail to make the 2010 World Cup after losing in a play-off to Slovenia.
In November 2009, he said of this particular setback: "I don't know what I can compare it to, though many things happened in my career. My loved ones tell me now that I must forget what happened as soon as possible. I need to turn my attention to the club’s matters, but it is easily said but not easily done. At the moment nothing spurs me to life. When Arsene Wenger asked me how I was feeling I honestly said that I just did not want to play football. He spoke to me, advised to switch to new things but it does not help at the moment."
It is tempting to conclude that he was never the same player for Arsenal following these twin developments at the tail end of 2009. Certainly there were flashes of the old talent - a famous goal against Barcelona in the Champions League in 2011; assisting Thierry Henry against Sunderland in February 2012 - but Arshavin soon became a case study in negative body language, labouring through games and puffing out his ruddy cheeks.
He simply didn't look interested. Whether this was actually the case or not became almost incidental: it was the narrative that took hold with Arsenal fans, and when his number came up to replace the impressive Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against Manchester United in January 2012, the chorus of boos from the Emirates Stadium faithful was savage. Van Persie was even seen to mouth "no" as he saw Wenger making the change.
Though as recently as 2013 Wenger was defending Arshavin's professionalism - calling the forward "an example to everyone" - a more compelling insight into the Arsenal star came when videos appeared online purporting to show a drunken Arshavin arguing with a bouncer. It appeared to confirm Arsenal fans' worst fears about a man collecting a healthy wage to do little of note on the pitch.
The suspicion was that Arshavin, quite simply, had lost interest in the pursuit of football - as least as much as that extends to actually appearing on the pitch. A great talent had been numbed by indifference.
Once a quirky, fun figure - thanks to his idiosyncratic "I am Gooner" greeting upon signing for the club and his rather bizarre Q&As on his official website - Arshavin had become a rather joyless individual, reportedly rejecting a possibly reinvigorating loan move to Reading to remain in his bubble of obscurity at Arsenal.
And on Wednesday evening, news of his departure from Arsenal made barely a ripple. From four goals at Anfield to a footnote. What a waste.
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FOREIGN VIEW: Italian football is often characterised as soft on racism but authorities sent a strong message on Wednesday when punishing Pro Patria fans for their infamous abuse of Milan fans during a friendly in January. Six men will be imprisoned for between 40 days and two months.
COMING UP: Our coverage of the European Under-21 Championship continues with live coverage of the games between Spain and Russia at 5pm, and Netherlands and Germany at 7.30pm. Prior to that we have blogs from Jan Molby and our friends in Germany.