Tag Archives: Santi Cazorla

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.



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.


What Cazorla’s departure means for Ramsey and Wilshere

Morning all. Let me start by addressing yesterday’s blog where I attempted to explain the truth about transfer budgets, and how it actually works.

The short version was “Arsenal gave £50m to spend in the summer pre-sales, but this is not the transfer budget. This £50m is to be spent on increased wages and amortised transfer fees”. Do read the full version, click here.

I write a lot of rubbish, I write some stuff that I think is good. Often the stuff I think is good and well thought out gets just a few 100 hits. Whilst often the rubbish can get thousands.

Yesterday’s blog was not planned. I was in my garden, on a break from mowing my lawn, rum and lemonade in hand (yes, it was only 9.30am) and explaining for the umpteenth time about how transfer fees are spread across the length of the entire project. I decided instead of continually having to explain it, I’d write a blog.

I was not expecting the blog to take off how it did. Reading the response bought a smile to my face. It felt like a blog that enlightened those who read it. Explained to them how things worked. Added to their knowledge. So a big thanks to everyone that read it and shared it. To have the blog “liked” by Big Dave Ornstein was certainly a highlight.

Leading on from yesterday’s blog, one thing I spoke about was about how an increase in wages comes out of that pot of gold we have available to increase over all costs of the club. And that if you want to control wages, you often have to let players leave to free up further cash for new players.

And that is what has happened today as Santi Cazorla agreed to join Villarreal on a feee transfer.

It is sad to let the happy little Spaniard leave, but he is 34 in December and has had two years injury. He heart might be broken, but the head says we were right not being too aggressive offering him a new contract.

Cazorla was in £90,000 a week. That is £4.6m a year. A lot of money invested in a player who has not played.

You the have another outgoing player who has barely appeared this season. Per Mertesacker. He was on £70,000 a week. Another £3.6m a year.

Combined, the pair earned £8.2m between them last year. They played 365 minutes of Premier League football combined.

The reality is, unlike if Jack Wilshere or Aaron Ramsey left, neither Cazorla or Mertesacker has to be replaced to maintain the status quo. That means the £8.2m in wages, or £160k a week, can be invested back in the squad wherever we feel fit.

That is the wages paid for a world class player without changing our current transfer outgoings.

Then we come to Jack Wilshere. It seems being left out of the World Cup has made him re-think his future at Arsenal. Perhaps he has decided that he wants to be assured of first team football – a guarantee he will never get at a top club. The question for Wilshere is “how far is he will to drop for first team football?”. Is he really going to be happy at Everton, Wolves or Leicester?

If he does leave, that free’s up another £80,000 a week. Now let’s be silly.

Arsenal lose both Wilshere and Cazorla for nothing. For the £170,000 a week (£8.8m a year) we save in wages for both players, we go out and buy the world class central midfielder we need. Is that not a positive?

I love Wilshere, but he is not or every will be world class. If he does leave, it gives us a lot of flexibility to use his salary and Cazorla’s money on that top replacement, and still have plenty in the lot to buy a top defensive midfielder.

And finally Aaron Ramsey.

I honestly think he is playing a game with the club.

With Cazorla gone, it leaves us with 4 senior central midfielders – Ramsey, Wilshere, Elneny, Xhaka.

If Wilshere also leaves, Ramsey will know he can pretty much name his price. The club could not afford to lose Cazorla, Wilshere & Ramsey, leaving us with just Elneny and Xhaka. We would need to go out and buy another 3 central midfielders if that happened. Ramsey is waiting to see how the cards fall before deciding to go all in.

I expect he will stay, and be made captain.

So if Wilshere and Cazorla leave, we replace them with a single top midfielder, and use our current budgeted funds to buy a defensive midfielder, our strength I. The middle of the park would have grown. If we can get someone like Max Meyer on a free, even better:

Xhaka DM Ramsey

Elneny AMN Meyer

Enjoy your Sunday.