What next for Santi Cazorla?


In the space of only eight days last November Arsenal lost both Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla to long term injury. Arsenal fans had been fretting all summer about the potential loss of one midfielder and his name was Francis Coquelin. Little did Gooners know that it would be the man alongside him that would be the far bigger loss and greater damage to the rest of our campaign.

Santi Cazorla damaged his knee at Carrow road and probably made it worse by completing the entire 90 minutes. There is a well known saying ‘you only know what you’re missing, when it’s gone’

From that point onwards the Arsenal machine did not perform anywhere near as smoothy as it should have. While Coquelin may be described as the engine, I think it would be apt to call Cazorla the petrol. Without the petrol the Arsenal vehicle was pretty much useless.

Cazorla’s task was clear, he was the man responsible for getting the party started. Dropping deep to receive the ball from goalkeeper or defenders, turn and play forward passes in between the lines to the danger men in the Arsenal team, mainly Mesut Ozil. Cazorla’s ability to keep the ball under great pressure is breathtaking and so is his unrivalled two footedness.

Arsene turned to a combination of Ramsey and Flamini in the heart of the midfield and it is fair to say that combination just did not work. In fact a number of Arsenal fans were quick to call the return of Flamini, one of Arsenals worst ever transfers

The Arsenal midfield did not function after November and it was only when new January signing Mohammed Elneny came into the team did Arsenal begin to look more fluid once again.

So this summer, Arsene obviously wanted to avoid a similar problem so he went out and forked out a reported £30m plus on Granit Xhaka. He is not a skilful two footed artist like Cazorla but he is a player who can start attacks at the base of midfield and he will be able to provide that link from back to front but with an added physical presence that little Santi is just not able to provide.

At 23 years of age, you would imagine that Xhaka has been bought as a long term solution to a serious problem for us last season.

So where does that leave Santi Cazorla? Has a player who was missed so badly last season find himself pushed out of the starting 11?

I cannot imagine a long term plan to have two players doing the same job and even if you ask Cazorla to push a little higher, I just do not see those two players complimenting each other.

With Granit Xhaka’s passing range and defensive qualities I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Arsene Wenger called on the services of Aaron Ramsey to play the role of his new shirt number. The player running back and forth to support both Xhaka and Ozil. Running power and a goal threat may be the preferred option. For all of Cazorla’s qualities, I don’t think he has enough of those elements in his game right now.

It is going to be interesting to see how it all plays out in this coming season.