Tag Archives: Santi Cazorla

Arsenal need the new Santi Cazorla, not Santi Cazorla

Fair play to Santi Cazorla.

Back in 2016 he injured his right Achilles tendon during a Champions League fixture against Ludogorets Razgrad, in what became a career threatening injury.

After 8 operations and contracting gangrene which saw the infection “eat” part of the tendon, there were fears Cazorla would be unable to walk again, let alone play football.

He required a skin graft, with the skin sourced from Cazorla’s left forearm where a tattoo of his daughter’s name had featured, as recovery took nearly 2 years.

After 636 days, he finally reappeared on a pitch for a friendly, in the yellow of Villarreal rather than the red of Arsenal.

In 2017, whilst injured, Arsenal had renewed his contract  for a further year in the hope he might play again during the 2017/18 season. He failed to regain fitness and Arsenal made the decision to release him on a free at the end of 2018.

Cazorla returned to former club Villarreal in order to train with them during the rest of the pre-season period and prove his fitness. In August the club which gave him his debut and whom he had been with for 7 season offered him a permanent contract.

In the past two years, Cazorla has regained form and fitness in La Liga and was re-called by the Spanish football team – playing 4 times in 2019.

His fine form has led many Arsenal fan to call for his return at the end of this season, with his Villarreal contract set to expire.

These fans are romanticizing about his return.

The Premier League is a much tougher league, more physical and quicker, than La Liga. Spain has suited Cazorla in the twilight of his career.

A less physical league, where players have more freedom to express themselves without fear from some lump from Burnley or Stoke “letting him know they are there” has allowed Cazorla to flourish.

But he is 35-years-old now, and he does not have the body for Premier League football.

Were Arsenal to sign him, the first game we would play, an opponent would leave one on him to test his body. We would all wince and hope he gets up.

Having spent 2 years out injured, with a fear of not walking again, why would Cazorla himself want to put his body at risk for 1 or 2 more seasons in the Premier League?

The deal would not make sense for Cazorla or Arsenal.

Santi was brilliant for Arsenal. We have sorely missed his technical ability in the middle of the park. Arsenal have not replaced the progressive passing midfielder that both Cazorla and Jack Wilshere were.

Whilst Granit Xhaka is a fine line passer, he is not someone who makes a short, sharp pass in the middle of the park, then run forward for the return pass before passing it on once more.

A midfield with Xhaka and someone like Cazorla in it would give us some robustness, and a good range of passing. Arsenal’s midfield at the moment is very weak.

But we need someone like Cazorla, not Cazorla.

The scouts, the statisticians need to put Cazorla’s attributes and output into a computer and see who comes out. Find a player who can take the ball off the defence and pass it through the midfield, progressing upfield with the ball.

What Jorginhio does for Chelsea or Ilkay Gundogan for Manchester City.

Rodrigo Bentancur would be an ideal signing, but I doubt Juventus would let him go.

Ruben Neves at Wolves or Fabian Ruiz at Napoli are two more realistic options.

Or we come back to Thomas Partey who might not have the passing range of Cazorla, but has the capability to transition the ball through the midfield by driving it forward himself. More a Patrick Vieira type rather than a Cesc Fabregas.

There are plenty of options out there who can solve the problem for Arsenal. We do not need to bring in a short term fix such as Santi Cazorla.

As a club we need to be building for the future. Focusing on players under 25, who can be part of the clubs rebuilding for some time. Who have sell on values so that we can sell and reinvest if required.

What we should not be doing is looking at short term fixes, like David Luiz or Santi Cazorla.

Santi, thanks for the memories at Arsenal, but you should not come back.



Taller Cazorla is a Baller

It usually takes a foreign player a few weeks, even a few months to acclimatise to Premier League football.

Players coming from Spain have often struggled with the higher paced, more physical side of English football.

Dani Ceballos has not needed time to settle. He has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. His man of the match performance against the Burnley Bully Boys was one of the best home debuts I have seen from an Arsenal player.

Ceballos was everywhere. His performance was all action. He attacked with intent, and also defended soundly. He covered every blade of grass.

The way he controlled the game in the middle of the park reminded everyone of Santi Cazorla.

Taking the ball in tight spaces, a drop of the shoulder and he was away.

No need to take a touch, his passing was on point;, it was quick, it kept the ball moving.

Shorts passes and long passes, he opened up space where there seemed to be none. Switching the ball from one side of the pitch to another to set up breaks. He was simply fantastic.


Ceballos now gives Unai Emery two fantastic options depending on how the manager wants to set up, who the opposition is.

In though away games against the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, play Ceballos in the number 10 over Mesut Ozil. In behind him play Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira.

That 3 man set up gives the side defensive stability in the middle, high energy for the press, and still

Has plenty of creativity in it.

At home against the likes of Burnley, Ceballos goes deeper alongside either Xhaka or Torreira, with Ozil playing ahead.

That set up is then more attack minded, with Ceballos able to create and support Ozil in attack, but can sit alongside a more defensively minded midfielder in defence.

Ozil was at his best when he had Santi Cazorla behind him, supporting him.

Cazorla was able to get the ball to Ozil in space quicker than any one else in the team. He was also able to take some of the creative burden off the German. He also created space for his teammate.

Cabellos will be able to do similar. He will be the perfect deeper foil for Ozil. Do not be surprised if the German returns to his best form this season.

Arsenal have missed Cazorla since he picked up that injury against Norwich a few years back. Jack Wilshere – his natural replacement – became too hampered by injury. In Cabellos we finally have another Cazorla.

Just a pity there is no option to buy next summer.


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…