Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Must Hang on to Santi Cazorla

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17:  Santi Cazorla of Arsenal reacts during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium on May 17, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Santi Cazorla's playing time will likely be more limited for Arsenal next season with the imminent return of Theo Walcott from injury and the arrival of Chilean star Alexis Sanchez.

Mesut Ozil's arrival at the beginning of last season saw Cazorla forced to play a wider role in 2013-14 and quality additions will increase competition in those areas.

Atletico Madrid clearly feel they can lure the Spaniard away from the Emirates, with the Daily Mail's David Kent reporting the La Liga champions' interest in the midfielder:

Atletico Madrid believe they can persuade Arsenal to part with Santi Cazorla this summer.

The Spain midfielder is a long-term target of Diego Simeone and the Argentine hopes this could be the year he lands the 29-year-old. [...]

The Gunners will not let Cazorla leave cheaply, however, and would demand at least £15m for the diminutive star.

However, it should be seen as a primary aim for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger to keep the player at the club and assure him he is a valuable asset—because he is.

Despite the added strength in Arsenal's midfield, Cazorla continues to be a key player as he has great quality and is versatile.

The infamously injury-prone Gunners are finally putting together a side who could genuinely contend for the Premier League—with additions like Sanchez and keeper David Ospina—but they need depth in the squad.

Last season they led the way for much of the season in the English top flight but injuries and fatigue saw them eventually drop away to fourth:

Shipping off a player of Cazorla's standard would be foolish and would leave Arsenal, once again, without proper back-up in key areas.

The fact of the matter is a team like Arsenal—who will also be competing in the Champions League—need more than one top player in each position to reach the levels expected of them.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - JULY 19:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on during the pre season friendly match between Borehamwood and Arsenal at Meadow Park on July 19, 2014 in Borehamwood, England.  (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Cazorla is invaluable in that he can play across the midfield and fits well into the Arsenal system with his terrific range of passing and goalscoring ability. He would be a huge loss, per Ben Fairthorne, formerly of CNN:

He bagged four Premier League goals and eight assists last season, per, and plays a big part in the Gunners movement.

The good news for Arsenal fans is that he recently expressed his wish to carry on and win more trophies with Arsenal after last season's FA Cup triumph, per via the Independent:  

We hope to win more trophies - I want to win the Premier League or Champions League. Of course we can win. We have a good team and with the support of the fans it's important for us. We have high expectations to go better than last year. We won a trophy last year and we want to do it again. Hopefully we'll make some great signings to support the squad and if so, it'll be good.

However, Atletico showed last season they are one of the top European sides, and Simeone is clearly confident he can snatch Cazorla away from North London.

Wenger must not let that happen. Cazorla is a valuable asset and must be treated as such or else Arsenal's new signings may have no effect without proper depth to the squad.