Whilst the little Spaniard’s arrival in north London wasn’t quite met with the same sensation and excitement as some of the other stars currently on Arsenal’s books, Santi Cazorla has nevertheless proved to have been a great asset for Arsene Wenger during his time with the Gunners.
His neat style and creative ability have allowed the 30-year-old to enjoy a profitable campaign so far this season, and although the likes of Eden Hazard, David Silva, and current Arsenal team mate Mesut Ozil, largely dominate the headlines when playing in the creative midfield positions, Cazorla still deserves acclaim for being one of 2014/15’s best performers.
Despite largely going down as a fan favourite at the Emirates, the Arsenal no.19 now looks set to end his stint in north London by the end of the season, with a homecoming move back to Spain rumoured to be on the cards. Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are reported favourites to land the Spanish midfielder, so in light of such news, just how will Santi Cazorla’s predicted Arsenal exit go onto impact Arsene Wenger’s ambitious side?
First and foremost, the Gunners would miss the Spaniard’s style more than anything. Even if he hasn’t delivered on every given occasion throughout his career, the former Villarreal and Malaga man certainly fits in with the classic Wenger approach, and the type of footballing philosophy that is often sought after at the Emirates. He has extremely gifted technical ability, a deft touch that most freestyle show-boaters would be proud of, as well as fantastic vision that has aided his Arsenal teammates on countless occasions.
Ten assists and seven goals in all competitions this season may not be the most outstanding output Santi Cazorla has ever achieved, but statistics can only go so far in relaying the true impact of this particular Spanish maestro. On his day, Wenger’s trusted midfielder can have an influence as great as any of his counterparts. If Santi is having a good game, you can pretty much guarantee the rest of the Arsenal’s attacking set-up will be on song as well.
If it wasn’t for a few frustratingly ill-timed injuries, Cazorla would have likely made more of a mark on the international scene as well. Breaking into such a squad however, at the height of Spain’s international dominance over every other footballing nation at the time, is a task much easier said than done.
Now that the no.19 has seemingly drawn a line under his time in North London, will the Gunners be able to reach the same level of threat without him on board? The most likely outcome of this predicted move would certainly see Cazorla missed at the Emirates, but that doesn’t mean life at Arsenal will never be the same again. The 30-year-old is ultimately approaching the twilight stages of his career, and as the former La Liga man walked into a philosophy that was already well in place at the London club, Arsene Wenger will most likely keep up the entertainment value that his side have become renowned for.
The likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, and Alexis Sanchez, act as a fresher breed of Arsenal players just starting to develop some cohesion together on the pitch. With Theo Walcott also back in contention for the Gunners, the task of both scoring and sourcing goals shouldn’t be too difficult for the remaining Emirates talents to muster. With a whole host of other European stars also still considered reported Arsenal transfer targets over the summer, it seems the wheels simply won’t come to a stand-still upon Cazorla’s reported exit.
Atletico Madrid would certainly be profiting from this deal however. After-all, the current Arsenal man knows the Spanish league well, would suit playing alongside the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Arda Turan and Koke, and definitely still has enough in the tank to prove a worthwhile gamble.
As some reports are claiming he has already agreed a personal terms with Diego Simeone’s rapidly rising outfit however, perhaps the Arsenal faithful should begin readying their good-byes for Santi Cazorla sooner than they might have initially expected.