It’s hard to dislike Santi Cazorla. The little Spaniard is a magician on the ball, hard working off it, can score goals and looks like a lovable woodland creature in a Disney film. But the classy ‘No. 10’ may not be around for much longer, with Atletico Madrid thought to have all but agreed a move for the pass-master.
The proposed swoop would not kick in until this summer and has not yet been agreed with the Gunners, but we think that, despite Santi’s quality, selling could make sense… and here are FIVE reasons why.
30 is not really old in the grand scheme of things, but for an attack-minded footballer, anywhere north of this milestone is seen as ‘end of career territory’. Cazorla has been excellent since the turn of 2015, but by the time 2016 rolls around he’ll be 31, and that burst of pace he has over 10 yards now may be slightly reduced, which is vital in the final third. So, getting rid now makes sense for Arsenal.
Although a fee is likely to be a reduced one, with Santi set to enter the last year of his contract this summer, any income is worthwhile. The Spaniard, 30, will hold very little value if the club look to keep him, with the potential for a free transfer lingering in the background. A fee for Atletico Madrid to pay is, as of yet, unknown, but income is income…
With Arsene Wenger’s love of the ‘No. 10’ player, Arsenal have a fair few options for the line of three behind the striker. From pacey wide-men such as Theo Walcott and inside strikers like Danny Welbeck right trough to classy playmakers of Mesut Ozil’s quality and more defensively adept stars in the mould of Aaron Ramsey, the Frenchman has a wealth of options for almost any set of circumstances. Although Cazorla is a top class player, his exit will not cause a seismic shift, nor will it leave Wenger particularly light.
With Arsenal possessing a good reputation when it comes to bringing youngster through, it comes as little surprise that a number of emerging players are on the edge of the starting XI. Videos over the weekend showed the crazy skills of Chris Willock, while Gedion Zelalem is an option in the attacking midfield line. Alternatively the chance to allow Ramsey to step forward may allow young January addition Krystian Bielik to get some game time.
Chris Willock doing dirty things vs Milan: pic.twitter.com/Np2pSVauPZ
— Danskin (@danskin1886) February 15, 2015
Even though Arsenal have been impressive in 2015, there is still the feeling that the Gunners’ midfield lacks a little balance. While flair players in the final third can unlock defences, the Londoners lack a true presence in the middle of the park, with Wenger, perhaps, a slave to the sheer level of attacking talent he has. Axing Santi to free up space for an enforcer may make some sense then, and could be an option.