Many Gooners are hoping that Arsenal’s transfer dealings are not over – a few more players are wanted (notably a keeper, a DM and potentially a creative midfielder) and many want a handful of squad players to leave; we all know who they are.
But it seems that another signing is in the offing. The media and Twitter are swimming with the name Santi Cazorla (not Carzola!). Don’t know who he is? Here’s a bit of info on him:
- 27 years old
- A mere 5’6″ in height
- A versatile winger who has played across the midfield in both attacking and more central roles
- Ambidextrous and has plenty of speed
- Started his career at Villarreal B before making it into the main team in 2003
- Scored four goals in Villarreal’s run to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 2004/05
- Sold to RC Recreativo de Huelva in 2006 with a clause in his contract for a possible return
- Returned for 4 years at Villarreal, scoring 32 times in 127 league matches
- Has played 45 times for the Spanish national team – even with the midfield talent at their disposal!
- Signed for Malaga last summer for €21m, scoring 9 times in 34 matches
- Supposedly has a €45m release clause in his contract
This is a guy that Wenger said he doesn’t know about a few days ago, but after the friendly in Malaysia, he has been quoted as saying:
“We are not close to signing Cazorla. We are still working that out.”
This comment gives a little more encouragement to the fans regarding this signing. Although Wenger has also mentioned the plethora of options we have in midfield, this could be reduced if Arshavin leaves. Cazorla would be a replacement for the departing Russian, and he would also provide the creative talent we have missed in Fabregas’ absence.
As for Malaga’s side of things, they seem to be suffering from financial difficulties, despite their rich owner. It seems that he has stopped pumping cash into the club, leading to some players (Cazorla included) threatening to make a formal complaint regarding unpaid wages. The Spanish tax authorities are reportedly demanding around €7m too.
This could mean that Malaga need to sell, below the €45m release clause, which would suit Wenger very nicely. We may even be in for Cazorla with the knowledge that Walcott could be off… and although I like Theo, it would probably be an improvement.
It’s difficult to tell whether or not this interest is genuine, but Wenger’s comments imply that a bid is on the table. That doesn’t mean he is close to signing at all, but if we are going for a player of his quality then it’s encouraging, especially as we have already signed two attacking players.
If we were to sign him, the fee would apparently be somewhere around €16m – over £13m, but certainly not a fortune for a player of his experience and quality. His free kick against Real Madrid last season shows his talent – take a look below:
Where would he play? I would like to see him in the hole behind two strikers – but I am a supporter of Wenger switching back to two strikers. If we stick with 4-3-3, he can play on the wing or in an attacking midfield role in the trio. However, we have plenty of wingers and the midfield triumvirate is best when all three can float around in attack and defence. It seems that Santi is best utilised in a forward position, so perhaps putting him out wide would be the optimal choice.
Overall, I hope that we can make this signing, but we shouldn’t guarantee it. Last season we missed out on Mata after all signs pointed to a deal having been done. Let’s hope this is different.