Tag Archives: Santi Cazorla

Unai Emery to “get the band back together”

Good morning and Happy New Year to you all.

Not only are we in a New Year; but it is also the opening day of the January transfer window, and clubs can negotiate free transfer deals with players abroad.

So who could Arsenal look to sign?

Starting in La Liga, Santi Cazorla‘s one year deal with Villarreal is set to come to an end. Pairing him with Lucas Torreira would be brilliant in 5-a-side if we could find another couple of midgets to join them.

The Secret Billionaire Mathieu Flamini will also see his one year deal with Getafe come to an end. It will be the 6th time in his career the Frenchman has moved clubs. His career combined transfer fees is exactly ZERO.

Arsenal could reinforce their defence for free in the summer if they sign Barcelona centre back Thomas Vermaelen. Laurent Koscielny and Vernaeken at the back together. The Achilles Brothers.

We then have Johann Djourou. The Swiss centre back will be 32 in January. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Fellow Swiss defender’s Phillippe Senderos is curreenlty a free agent. His contract with MLS side Houston Dynamo expired last night.

There is only one man who deserves to partner Flamini in the middle of the park. His former partner in crime Cesc Fabregas. Also Unai Emery should give the prodigal son the captains armband.

Making it a midfield trio is Lassana Diarra. The midfielder somehow found his way at PSG; despite causing trouble everywhere he went. Having signed him a year ago, I am sure Emery will be delighted to link up with him once more.

One player available already is Alex Hleb. His contract expired on New Year’s Eve. Although he is likely to sign an extension with BATE Borisov before facing Arsenal in the Europa League.

Every team needs a top striker. Back a year ago Chelsea handed Olivier Giroud an 18-month deal. Could the French World Cup winner be set for an Arsenal return?

And sometimes there are two top strikers available – jailbird Nicklas Bendtner‘s contract with Rosenborg expired yesterday meaning he is available on a free TODAY.

Sadly, to complete the XI we need a goal keeper, and despite extensive scouting, it seems non are available on a free. As David Ospina is currently not playing for the club, we will take an advantage of a loophole known as the Ospina Rule and he will be between the sticks.

What an XI we could have…

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Santi Cazorla opens up on “lack of belief” at Arsenal

Really interesting interview with Santi Cazorla on Football Focus last weekend

“We needed to believe in ourselves more,” he told Football Focus.

“To believe that we were capable of competing with the big sides in the Premier League and not just settling for third or fourth.”

“We needed to have made that leap to try and battle it out for the title. There were seasons where you felt like we were in with a shout but then through various circumstances it wasn’t to be,” he said.

“But I think it’s all about having that self-belief, that right mentality. To say ‘We believe in this team, we know we have a great squad and we can go toe to toe with the big English clubs.’

“I believe that they will do that and for sure they will keep on improving in the future. They are going to have a great season, they have a great team and I wish them all the best.”

Santi Cazorla opens up on “lack of belief” at ArsenalSanti Cazorla opens up on “lack of belief” at Arsenal

What he highlights is that Arsenal lacked the belief that they could compete with the best in England. Both during the 90 minutes and over the course of the season.

What this highlights is that Arsene Wenger became defeatist in the latter years. That he started to feel he could not build a team that could compete, and he projected this negative mindset onto the players.

It was poor man management.

Arsenal not being able to compete with Manchester City, Chelsea or Manchester United was a valid opinion. We had a lot less to spend both in the transfer market and on players wages then these teams. But from a managerial point of view, Wenger should have been protecting his thoughts from the players.

He should have been telling the players they are brilliant, that they can become champions. Not trying to soften the blow of a defeat by pointing out that we can not expect to compete with Man City / Chelsea / Man U as we can not spend as much as them (transfers & wages).

Imagine being told by your boss “we will never be as good as our competitor because we do not have similar financial clout”. It creates a defeatist attitude leaving staff to accept second best as an achievement A good manager shields his staff and coaches them to compete – regardless of industry.

This is not just about football, but about management in general.

Managing people is no different in football to a sales office, a hedge fund or any other industry.  A managers job is to motivate and coach to improvement. No matter the industry. Projecting your negative opinion into staff will not motivate them but lead them accepting the excuses.

If players “lacked belief”, then it was Wenger’s job to motivate the players, to install that belief. If Wenger was not motivating his staff, installing belief, then it is poor management.

Keenos

Goodbye Santi, Hello Stephan

We were all expecting something to happen at Arsenal today. The noise was positive around Sokratis being on the verge of being named Unai Emery’s first signing at Arsenal.

In a Sol Campbell-esque moment – when we were all expecting Richard Wright to be announced and out got Sol Campbell from the car – former Juventus right back Stephan Lichtsteiner has gazumped Sokratis to become a quiz question answer.

But firstly the sad news. Santi Cazorla has officially left the club.

The former Gunners midfielder is set to spend pre-season with his former club Villarreal, with a view to earning a permanent contract.

The diminutive Spaniard always played with a smile on his face. A smile which has not been seen on a football pitch since November 2015.

I still maintain that had he not picked up that injury against Norwich, Arsenal would have had that little bit extra to beat Leicester City to the title.

At the time of his injury, Cazorla was an over present in the Arsenal team, with analysis showing him to be the league’s busiest and most accurate passer.

Arsenal reportedly offered him a coaching role at Arsenal, but he clearly feels that he has another year or two left.

With Villarreal in the Europa League, there is a chance we might see him again.

When someone dies, someone is born. And the sadness of Cazorla leaving is balanced out with Lichtsteiner joining Arsenal from Juventus.

The Swiss international defender signs as a free agent from the Serie A club, where he won the title in each of his seven seasons.

A hugely-experienced right-sided defender, Stephan made over 250 appearances for Juventus and is the fourth-most capped player in Switzerland history with 99 appearances for his country. He has also been the Swiss captain since 2016.

Head coach Unai Emery said: “Stephan brings huge experience and leadership to our squad. He’s a player with great quality with a very positive and determined attitude. Stephan will improve us on and off the pitch.”

Stephan, 34, started his senior career in 2001 with Swiss club Grasshopper Zurich, where he won the league title in 2003. He played in France with Lille for three years before moving to Lazio in Italy in 2008, where he won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana before moving to Juventus in 2011.

He will wear the number 12 shit, and provide cover and competition for Hector Bellerin.

Keenos