Santi Cazorla – is he the next player to leave Arsenal?

Santi Cazorla – is he the next player to leave Arsenal?
is santi cazorla leaving arsenal for manchester city or atleticoo madrid

Santi Cazorla

Supporters of Arsenal and Malaga have something in common.

They know what it is like to see the family silver being sold off before their very eyes.

Are Arsenal about to do so again? This time by selling a player they themselves purchased from the footballing version of a firesale?

Rumours are rife that Santi Cazorla is on his way out of the Emirates. But if he does move on, will he go to Madrid or Manchester?

Sell, sell, sell!

I know several fans of Malaga football club and I feel for them. Recent events must have been akin to watching people break into your home, steal your most cherished possessions and know all you could do was stand back and watch.

They hold regular car boot sales near the La Rosaleda stadium. But the sale going on down the road, at the club itself, has also attracted many buyers.

To be a Malaga fan these past few years has been one almighty roller coaster ride. At one stage simply staying up in La Liga was enough. Then you blinked as new, overseas investors came in and promised you the earth. Then, thanks not least to a class act of a manager, you find yourself playing in the Quarter Final of the Champions League.

And then boom! The dream has died. The money has evaporated and your club is, like the country of Spain itself, in crisis.

One of the first players to be sold on in order to pay off debts was the Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla. He was happy at Malaga, playing for the much respected Manuel Pelligrini – a man who performed wonders under increasingly difficult circumstances while working in Andalucia.

Wages of sin

Cazorla was sold to Arsenal for an undisclosed sum believed to have been in the region of 15 million pounds only one year ago. Ideally he says he would have stayed in Spain.

He says: “My last year was difficult at Malaga. There were delays in wage payments, lots of uncertainty. There are economic problems in Spanish football and the English Premier League is now a target for Spanish footballers. Coming to Arsenal was a chance I couldn’t let pass by.”

Gunners fans may not like to read me asking this question, but I wonder if Cazorla and Pellegrini could be reunited at Manchester City. If Arsenal are keeping Atletico Madrid at arms length in the hope City will make a bigger bid.

Man City have agreed to sign Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo. An idol in that fine Andalucian city, but a player yet to prove just how good he is to the wider footballing world. Man City seems like a good place for Negredo to do just that.

Cazorla will not speak of if he wants to move to Man City but, like others before him, he knows he stands a better chance of winning things there than he does at Arsenal.

Or is he on his way back to Spain? Rumours in the country claim Atletico Madrid officials are trying to head off an approach for Cazorla from Man City. Reports I am hearing on Spanish radio claim Atletico officials are in London right now trying to agree a fee with Arsenal.

Wenger denies the club will sell the 28 year old who scored 12 goals for the club last season.

Short changed

Born in the gorgeous but often windswept corner of Spain called Asturias, Cazorla went under the radar for a few years. The son of a miner who died young, he began playing close to home, for Real Oviedo juniors.

He says: “There were teams who didn’t want to sign me because, when 15 and 16 years of age, I was only 5ft 6 inches tall. That was an era when everything was more physical, so a lot of players had that problem.

“But the game changed and is not so focussed on size but on technique.”

Cazorla has long had to play understudy to the very best Spanish players such as Xavi, Iniesta, Mata and Silva. The last named is a friend and another reason why Cazorla would be tempted should Pellegrini try to sign him.

He has 50 caps for the national Spanish side and came to that particular all conquering team a little late in his career. He got his call on the eve of Spain’s corner turning campaign at Euro 2008.

Soccer - Santi Cazorla File PhotoHis club career appeared to have hit the buffers and he was struggling to hold down a place at Villareal.

He recalls: “I was playing at Villareal at 19 but then they brought in some big signings. When I look back being loaned out was exactly the right thing. It was a turning point. I gained a lot of self belief.

“I changed the way I played. When I got back to Villareal I had much more responsibility for dictating the way we constructed our attacking play.”

He almost joined Real Madrid. Then, in 2011, he went to the warmer climes of Malaga where Pellegrini was building a team that would eventually play in the Champions League.

Then the wheels came off at Malaga and players wages went unpaid. Cazorla was one of the first to be sold off, but far from the last. The Malaga firesale goes on to this day.

He made an immediate impact in the Arsenal midfield and fans seem to appreciate his workrate and skills. It is a widely held belief that Arsene Wenger must spend this summer and stop the conveyor belt of top talent leaving Arsenal.

But will he? Can he?

While most foreign footballers want to play in London, Santi Cazorla would not hesitate to sign for his old boss at Manchester City. Will the offer come?

Will he stay at Arsenal or go back home to Spain?

We must wait and see.

What is clear is that it is not only the weather that is hotting up in England.

So is the transfer market.


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