They sat, they watchedand then they reported. The top man was still not convinced so he sent them back and so again they sat, they watched and they reported. Whilst they were deciding, Málaga came in and signed Santi Cazorla. To add insult to injury Juan Mata another Arsenal target would join Chelsea just a few weeks later. Now, a season later, Arsene Wenger has corrected one of those glaring mistakes.
Santi Cazorla likes to smile. He is an incredibly nice fellow who always has time to give an autograph or answer a few questions to waiting journalists in the Mixed Zone after a game and no matter what the result…. Yes you have guessed it… he smiles. The last few days haven’t seen Cazorla smiling. The situation surrounding Málaga has everyone confused. The club owes wages, clubs and the taxman and they must pay up by the 31st of July. For as much expert opinion that is being bounced about, the truth is that nobody knows exactly what is going on and it all seems a bit FUBAR.
Arsenal have seen an opportunity and are rumoured to have captured Cazorla. That isn’t surprising, what is surprising is that other clubs haven’t! Santi Cazorla is an exceptional player. Former Manchester United striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy who played with the midfielder last season at Málaga agrees, saying ‘what a player Santi [Cazorla] is."
He can play right across the midfield. Whether it is on the left or right wing as he is comfortable with both feet, in the centre as playmaker or just behind the main striker, when Cazorla plays you notice. He is quick; he has fantastic vision and can time a pass to perfection with his passing stats just behind Xabi Alonso and Xavi last season. He is an expert in dead ball situations and he likes to score. Last season he netted 9 times, he also had 5 assists.
Former Manchester United striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy who played with the midfielder last season at Málaga agrees, saying ‘what a player Santi [Cazorla] is."
His fitness levels are impressive. He was the only outfield player to play in every league game last season. Equally impressive is that his stats don’t differ whether he plays home or away, he is a consistent performer. Last season he became Málaga’s record signing. He scored in the first four games of the season and saw Málaga go top in the league for the first time in their history, even if it was for less than 24 hours.
When at Villarreal his teammates used to call him ‘Our Ronaldinho’ because was just as ugly, always grinning and just as talented with the ball. That was years ago and Cazorla is better now, a lot better. He has been compared to Xavi, Iniesta and any other player that can pass the ball but he is his own man and he is creative, talented and a grafter. What more could Arsenal want?
After his bright start, Málaga had a bit of a tip in form. Coach Manolo Pellegrini struggled to find the perfect position for Cazorla. He started on the left, was moved over to the right which some claim is his best position and finally he was placed in the middle. He was the victim of some criticism, criticism that Barca maestro Xavi Hernandez was having none of.
‘Cazorla is exceptional and I think he is undervalued at the club he is at’ said Xavi back in March. One place he is not undervalued is with the National team. He has won the European Championships twice, 2008 and 2012, and missed the World Cup in 2010 only through injury. When he was fully fit Vicente Del Bosque had him straight back in the side.
The bottom line is Arsenal would have been mad not to sign Cazorla. He is perfect for them in everyway
Cazorla is small and he might suffer with the physical side of the Premier League at first but most in Spain believe that he could conquer England like David Silva has done with Man City. He is friendly and talkative and that would help him settle easily should he move. He will turn 28 in December and lately Arsene Wenger is known to prefer to sign younger players and when he did make an exception to that it didn’t work out too well, see Andrei Arshavin.
The bottom line is Arsenal would have been mad not to sign Cazorla. He is perfect for them in every way and although some fans may not be overly familiar with him he could easily have the same effect that Robert Pires had when he was signed. For once, Arsenal acted fast. They have missed out on players before because they hesitated and haggled. What a relief for Arsenal fans, therefore, that finally a world class player has arrived at the Emirates signed, sealed and delivered.
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