Arsenal Transfer News: How Big a Steal Is Santi Cazorla for Arsenal?

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIAugust 2, 2012

GDANSK, POLAND - JUNE 17:  In this handout image provided by UEFA, Santi Cazorla of Spain talks to the media during a UEFA EURO 2012 press conference at the Municipal Stadium on June 17, 2012 in Gdansk, Poland.  (Photo by Handout/UEFA via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

Spanish international Santi Cazorla is believed to be only days away from signing with Arsenal for the upcoming English Premier League season, according to latest reports.

The Malaga midfielder reportedly wants out of the Spanish club due to a myriad of financial problems which we'll get to in a moment—essentially he's not getting paid—and as a result, Arsene Wenger has stepped in and will sign the 27-year-old for the London club shortly.

Per The Daily Mail:

Malaga's Santi Cazorla is due to fly into London this week for a medical with Arsenal once a £17.3million fee is agreed.

Wenger was beaten to the signature of the Spain midfielder last year by Malaga, who had been seemingly enriched by their purchase by Qatari Sheik Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani.  

But the club now have to clear huge debts by the end of the month or face relegation to Spain's second tier, the loss of their UEFA licence and Champions League expulsion.

As the Mail briefly states above, the player reportedly wants out of Malaga due to the ongoing financial problems at the club which have resulted in players not being paid their proper wages.

The Spanish giants have enormous debts that are due and face serious consequences if they are not paid immediately, which means that they may be forced to accept a significant offer from Arsenal, should they formally offer an amount for Cazorla.

The Guardian spells out the current situation well:

Negotiations have taken place between the clubs and, although Málaga's initial response was to point to Cazorla's €45 million buy-out clause and effectively discourage Arsenal's interest, the Spanish club's worrying financial situation, which could see them relegated if they do not pay outstanding debts, might force them to sell.

Cazorla wants to leave Málaga, the club he joined for €19m last summer from Villarreal, after wages went unpaid during the campaign and promises were broken. The 27-year-old has told Málaga of his intention to depart and he has also spoken to Arsenal to tell them he is keen on joining them.

Málaga may facilitate the move but the power vacuum and inertia at the club means that the future is uncertain. If Málaga's Qatari owner, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani, does not inject more money, the sale of Cazorla would represent the swiftest way for the Spanish club to cover their debts. If Málaga do not settle those debts by 31 July they face relegation to Second Division B and the loss of their Uefa licence and Champions League participation.

Sources at the club say that his methods are "different" and that they would not be surprised if the money turned up at the last minute but they cannot count on that. While the debt is outstanding, the Spanish league will not allow them to make any signings.

Thus then it appears that Arsenal have pulled off some sort of steal for Cazorla—picking up a player that was not on the market at a reduced price. Should the deal go through, it would be considered one of the smartest transfer moves of the summer by any club.

So, then, how big of a steal has Arsenal pulled off with Cazorla, assuming he signs with the club over the next few days, as expected?

You'd suggest an incredible one.

The Gunners were never going to splash out the money that Chelsea were over the summer transfer window (per The Sun), with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger indicating before the transfer window that they may very well not sign any big names at all.

Their long-standing policy of responsible spending and financial security means that a player like Cazorla is unlikely to be acquired by Arsenal, except for extraordinary circumstances like the ones we are currently witnessing.

If it is money, Arsenal simply cannot offer it and they know they are likely to get swamped by a club with a bigger bank balance—read Chelsea or Manchester City—if they do so.

Cazorla is a brilliant midfielder who will work wonderfully in Arsene Wenger's system for the upcoming season—providing creativity and control in the midfield and no doubt boosting the performances of new signings Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.

He is an excellent player, and is worth far more than the £16-18 million that Arsenal are believed to be paying Malaga for. He is worth far more to the club than that and is worth far more as a footballer than that—meaning Arsenal have pulled off an incredible steal over the summer transfer window.

The Gunners have worked a difficult situation to their advantage and have acquired a player that they would not have been able to get otherwise. To consider that they've done it for a significantly reduced price and in the same transfer window where they brought in two big-name strikers is a bonus.

Santi Cazorla is a huge steal for Arsenal over the summer transfer window—I'm sure we'll see just how big a steal it truly is when the English Premier League season begins.


Brilliant move or average signing? What do you think of Cazorla?

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