All You Need To Know About Santi Cazorla
‘Shop till you drop’ seems to be the new mantra for Arsene Wenger, who has landed three established internationals in one transfer window following the arrival of Santi Cazorla from Malaga for a fee reported to be in the region of £16million. The signing has brought excitement to the voice of even the most cynical Arsenal fan. Social media, usually one of the most pessimistic places to be as an Arsenal fan, has been transformed and if Facebook statuses and Twitter feeds are anything to go by, Santi’s arrival has whipped the Arsenal faithful into frenzy and rightly so.
Cazorla has been on Arsenal’s radar since last summer and with good reason. With the exception of not being French, he is the prototypical Wenger player. Cazorla is a supremely talented player and possesses all the attributes of a stereotype Spanish midfielder – technically proficient, tactically astute and equally comfortable with the ball on either foot. The Spanish international is versatile, can play on both wings or through the middle and is the quintessential modern day midfielder. He is expected to shoulder much of the creative burden that has been void since Cesc Fabregas’ departure to Barcelona.
Like Juan Mata, Santi was a product of Real Oviedo’s glorious cantera before heading to Villarreal where he began to shine. He was instrumental in the club’s rise from virtual unknowns to an ever present force in European football and was only one of two non–Madrid or Barcelona players to feature in Opta’s La Liga perfect XI (the other being Juan Mata) during his last season at the Castellon-based club. He was sold by El Submarino Amarillo (The Yellow Submarines) to high spending Malaga in 2011 to reduce their debt and it was no surprise that his former club struggled once he left for the riches of Malaga.
Borja Valero described his departure as “Villarreal losing their identity” and Marcos Senna suggested “it was like they had cut a finger off”. Cazorla enjoyed an outstanding first season with Malaga and was iconic in Malaga’s qualification for the Champions League with nine goals, five assists and a remarkable 86% pass completion rate.
Not only is his footballing ability appreciated by all and sundry, his off-field antics have made him a very popular figure in the dressing rooms he’s been part of and according to team-mate Joan Capdevila, “he never shuts up.” He was also christened “Our Ronaldinho” by his Villarreal team mates because he was just as ugly and just as good at football as the Brazilian legend. His infectious and bubbly personality should help unify an Arsenal dressing room that has been a bit uneasy in recent seasons.
Despite performing well for his club sides consistently, Cazorla is criminally underrated and a move to Arsenal will perhaps offer him the stage where his talent will receive due recognition and credit it deserves. He is likely to add a cutting edge to Arsenal’s midfield and will help Arsenal bridge the gap between the Manchester clubs. Cazorla’s signing has convinced the Gooners, but has it convinced Robin van Persie of Arsenal’s ambition? Only time will tell.