Tag Archives: Santi Cazorla

A Tale of 2 Spaniards

Santi Cazorla

I have seen horrendous injuries before. Aaron Ramsey, Eduardo, and more, but the news last week about Santi Cazorla saddens me more.

Even though it was an innocuous challenge at the time, one which did not cause too much stress, the photos that came out last week were deeply saddening.

I think the primary reason why the news about his 8 operations, gangrene, and potential of never walking again, let alone play football was so distressing was because of the type of person Cazorla is.

He is the happiest man in the world. Always playing with a smile on his face. A cheeky little bugger who clearly enjoyed life. And then his career was nearly cut down, his life nearly changed forever.

And then we come to the amazing part.

At no point over the last year have we seen Cazorla not smile.

Despite it clearly being a hard time in his life, every picture of him recovering, or on social media, he and the instantly recognisable smile on his face.

He never seemed to let things get him down. Other players would have been complaining, informing others every second of their distress. Cazorla didn’t. He just got on with things. And did it with a smile.

Even when things got nasty with Arsenal fans calling for his contract to be terminated, he battled on, smiling.

Even last week, when the pictures came out, I saw he fan say “why is Cazorla still contracted at Arsenal. Wenger has turned on him to another Diaby. We should just get rid”.

This type of fan probably also moans that the club has lost its position as the classiest club in Britain.

Sometimes our fans really are classless. Having a go at a man who could have died. Complaining that the club are treating him and helping him walk again.

These fans who moan need to take a look at Cazorla. He had a life threatening injury and is still smiling. What has gone so badly wrong in their life that makes them so angry all the time.

I hope Cazorla does return in the new year. I hope he does play again. And I hope Arsenal continue to give him the treatment he needs to get back on his feet – even if his contract expires.

Santi, I hope that in the face of adversity, I can smile my through it just like you.

David Silva

Great player. Always been a favourite of mine. Proper little genius.

A story came out this week that Arsenal had the opportunity to sign him way back in 2005. We didn’t. He ended up at Manchester City.

People have jumped on this as “another that got away”, yet all it does is prove how easy football is in hindsight.

In 2005, David Silva was just 19. Manchester City did not sign him until 2010. 5 years later when he was 23. It is not like we turned him down and he went straight to City.

At that point in 2005, he had just spent a year on loan at Eibar in the Spanish 2nd division. Arsenal did. It feel he was ready physically for the Premier League.

Valencia also clearly did not feel he was ready for their team either. In 2005/06 they loaned him out to Celta Vigo and it was not until 2006/07 that he started to play for the side whose youth ranks he came up in.

As I say, football is easy in hindsight. For every David Silva that makes it, there are 100s of youngsters who do not make it.

Role the clock back to 2005, Arsenal had Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg in the squad. A 19 year old David Silva would not get a look in.

“But we could have signed him to develop him” you cry. Well at the time we were developing two their Spanish youngsters.

The first was Jose Antonio Reyes, who at the time was considered by everyone as the future of Spanish football. He was just 21 and was already in double figures in caps for Spain. Back to that word hindsight, who would have thought Reyes career would fall off a cliff? He got 21 caps for Spain, the last in 2006 – the year Silva made his Spain debut.

We then come on to the second Spanish talent.

An 18 year old kid called Frances Fabregas Soler. A wonderkid, to use Football Managers terminology.

Cesc is 16 months younger than David Silva, and in the 2004/05 season, had just broken into the Arsenal first team. He was playing Premier League football for the champions whilst the older David Silva was in the 2nd division in Spain.

Cesc would very quickly establish himself to be one of the best midfielders in world football. David Silva was still trying to establish himself in the Valencia first team.

Top clubs scout every top young player. The David Silva story has only come to light due to Arsenal playing Manchester City at the weekend.

In 2005, Arsenal had better players in and around the first team who were better than David Silva at the same age. And one who was a lot better than him despite being 16 months younger.

You would have to be an idiot to try and claim that Arsenal should have discarded Cesc to bring in David Silva.


7 OUT for Arsenal’s trip to Watford

Arsenal could be without seven first team players for their trip to Watford in the Premier League this weekend following the international break

Prior to the final round of World Cup qualifiers, Arsenal were already without Laurent Koscielny, who had been sidelined for the Gunners over the past few weeks. The French centre back has seen a flair up of a long-term existing injury to his achilles. His chances of being fit for Saturday’s game were 50/50.

Koscielny may well be rushed back into the game with centre back partner Shkodran Mustafi having limped off in Germany’s 5-1 win over Azerbaijan on Sunday. The German international could miss the club’s next seven fixtures having suffered a torn ligament just 36 minutes into the game.

Another who did not travel with his country was Mesut Ozil has played just 17 minutes of Arsenal’s last 6 games as he recovers from a knee injury.

Two with a chance of returning are Francis Coquelin and Danny Welbeck.

Welbeck picked up a groin strain against Chelsea and hopes to be fit for the match, whilst Coquelin has been out since the Bournemouth fixture which took place on the 9th of September.

Calum Chambers on the other hand is not in contention for the clash. He is suffering a knee injury that will keep him out until the end of the month.

While Santi Cazorla will be out until the new year after suffering Achilles problems all the way back in October 2016.



5 Santi Cazorla replacements

Leon Goretzka

The lanky German central midfielder has been on a lot of people’s radars for a long time.

The 6’ 2” Schalke 04 midfielder’s contract runs out in 12 months. Whilst he is likely to mirror many playersn Germany by letting his contract run down before joining Bayern Munich, Arsenal could do well to force a move this summer.

He is certainly not a Santi Cazorla clone, but he would offer a lot in the middle of the park.

More of an Aaron Ramsey than a Santi Cazorla, his passing is not quite as good as the midget Spaniard, but he makes up for it in physical size and his ability to get around. And even though he is not as good as Cazorla on the ball, he is still a solid passer.

At 22, and with a World Cup round the corner, he would be pushing for 1st team football. Whilst Arsenal can not (and should not) guarantee this for any incoming player, a scenario where he is pushing Ramsey for a spot next to Granit Xhaka in the middle of the park is forcible.

Signing Goretzka would also leave us with the option of Ramsey moving further forward where he excels for Wales.

Jean Seri

Labelled the next “N’Golo Kante”, but I am sceptical.

The reason he has been labelled this is the same reason Abou Diaby was labelled the next Vieira, and Bruno Cheryou the next Zinedine Zidane. Seri is 5’ 5” and black.

A lot of people who claim to watch French football have been raving about him recently, comparing him favourably to Kante. But these people had probably not even heard of Kante until Leicester signed him.

Seri is a diminutive, hard working midfielder who has a £33 million release clause.

He is a defensive midfielder who covers a lot of ground, so would not be a direct replacement for Cazorla.

Signing him would simply push everyone forward. Seri would play defensive midfield, and Xhaka would be pushed further forward, becoming the deep lying playmaker that Santi Cazorla was.

Dani Ceballos

The Spain under 21 international was named Player of the Tournament at the recent 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Dani Ceballos is a terrific young player and, alongside Saul Niguez, is surely the future of Spain’s midfield.

With a reported release clause of just €15m, he is a player who should be at the top of a lot of clubs wish list this summer.

At just 20 years old, he is unlikely to make the Spain squad at the 2018 World Cup, and would possibly be happy(ish) to not be starting week in, week out and fight for his place in the squad.

Not only would he be able to replace Cazorla’s creativity, but he would also provide brilliant back up for Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

Max Arnold

The second German on the list, I am a massive fan of Max Arnold and he was one of my Ones To Watch at the recent European Youth tournament.

The Wolfsburg man was named alongside Dani Ceballos in the Under-21 Team of the Tournament and recently ran a friendly against England with a display of precise, intelligent passing and power.

Again, like many others on this list, he is not a Santi Cazorla clone, but would certainly add depth, competition and quality to our central midfield.

Renato Sanches

Just 12 months ago the Bayern Munich youngster was staring for Portugal in the European Championships. This summer he was relegated to the U21 tournament, and took his poor Bayern Munich form with him.

Still just 19, Arsenal should not be put off the youngster. He is clearly very talented and you do not lose his natural attributes over night.

He will probably be the most expensive on the list, but, if playing at 100%, is easily the best.

Arsenal would make a big statement by signing him.