Arsenal

Arsenal Transfer News: Santi Cazorla Eyed by Atletico, Latest on Alvaro Morata

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla reacts after his appeal for a penalty is turned down during the English FA Cup final soccer match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium in London, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press
Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2014

Atletico Madrid are reportedly hunting the signature of Arsenal's Santi Cazorla once more, after failing to land the Spanish midfielder last summer.

Diego Simeone's side face a summer of disruption after securing the La Liga title, as the rest of Europe descends upon the Vicente Calderon looking for talent. Stars such as Diego Costa are more than likely to leave, as per ESPN.co.uk, but Cazorla has emerged as one target to replace outgoing talent.

Spanish publication Marca followed on the trail of British press, confirming Atletico's interest in the creative player:

"Atletico de Madrid are said to be targeting Arsenal and Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla once again," reads the report. "Los Rojiblancos tried to sign Cazorla last summer and could now offer €22 million to bring him to Madrid."

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 24:  Diego Simeone, Coach of Club Atletico de Madrid looks on during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio da Luz on May 24, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Image
Lars Baron/Getty Images

Ben Jefferson of the Express reported comments from Atletico defender Juanfran, who confirmed he is trying to persuade Cazorla to ditch Arsene Wenger's team:

"I'm trying to convince everyone that no one should leave (the club), and with many of the selection (Spanish national team) I'm trying to convince them to come to Atletico Madrid. Santi is one of them."

Cazorla remains an important player for Arsenal, but he could be used to generate cash for a number of targets. He is one of many ball-playing midfielders at a club that also flaunts Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil, among others. Wenger's team need a hard-hitting defensive midfield destroyer to add a sense of physicality to their game, something that could be achieved with Cazorla's sale.

With Cesc Fabregas likely to move on from Barcelona, Wenger may even be tempted to offload Cazorla and return his former captain to the Emirates, as per Chisanga Malata of the Daily Star.

Of course, Arsenal's longing for a new striker continues. Olivier Giroud needs an out-and-out goalscoring reinforcement heading into the next campaign, a situation that continues to see Alvaro Morata linked to the club. The Real Madrid youngster interests a handful of clubs, but he may find himself making a short move across Spain, as reported by Victor Franch of Marca:

When MARCA recently published a list of clubs hoping to sign Álvaro Morata, most people would have ruled Villarreal out straight away. The 'Yellow Submarine' simply had no chance of competing with the likes of Milan, Juventus or Arsenal.

The situation has completely changed since then and now, Real's plan to allow Morata to leave the club, but only on loan, and with no option to make the move permanent, has moved Villarreal into pole position to sign the young forward.

This news will disappoint some Arsenal fan but relieve others. Morata would likely need time to adapt if he moved to England, where he may struggle to knock Giroud out of the first team. While Morata's quality continues to improve, his value comes from being a long-term investment, not a player who will notch 20 Premier League goals upon arrival.

HULL, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Arsenal at KC Stadium on April 20, 2014 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Nicholas Rigg of ESPN FC believes a temporary move will benefit the striker who could become a world superstar:

It will be extremely interesting to witness what direction Wenger takes Arsenal in during the summer. The almost patented passing style sees the Gunners compete for a Champions League spot every year, but more is needed for the club to push on in Europe and throughout the domestic title race.

Greater versatility and a Plan B should be the manager's main concern. To achieve this, Wenger may be forced into sacrificing players—like Cazorla—who fit the traditional Arsenal way. A risky move, sure, but this kind of evolution could also be hugely exciting if the right players are brought in. 

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