Arsenal Transfers: Santi Cazorla Will Prove Great Value for Money

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12:  Santi Cazorla of Spain evades Jack Rodwell of England during the international friendly match between England and Spain at Wembley Stadium on November 12, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

David Hynter of the Guardian claims that Arsenal have completed a £16 million deal for Malaga attacking midfielder Santi Cazorla, pending official confirmation. He can live up to that hefty price tag and prove value for money.

That might be a bold prediction for a 27-year-old who has never played for Spain's top two. However, Cazorla is exactly the player Arsenal need, with the skills to transform the Gunners and his arrival makes them legitimate title contenders.

Since the departures of Samir Nasri and particularly Cesc Fabregas, Arsene Wenger has lacked a mercurial playmaker to make his intricate passing style work. While many others often rely on a deep-lying player as the fulcrum of the team, Wenger's model needs an attack-minded schemer to make everything click on the field.

Fabregas did it for years and before him it was Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira, who is still often wrongly labelled as a defensive midfielder. In fact, Wenger always made sure he partnered Vieira with a deep-lying, disciplined companion, who would allow the powerful Frenchman the freedom to start and direct forward moves.

Pires would drift off the wing and join Vieira in the middle for a perfect mix of flair, strength and creativity. Wenger has sought the same partnership ever since. He auditioned many candidates in the Pires role, notably Aleksandr Hleb, Tomas Rosicky and finally Nasri.

Cazorla will finally give Wenger the crafty midfielder he needs, to either play left or right, or join Alex Song to form a formidable creative force in central areas. Cazorla's diminutive frame belies his natural strength and his touch and technique are superior to any current member of the Arsenal midfield.

He can turn those all-too familiar passages of tidy possession play with no end product, into goalscoring opportunities. The ability to quickly identify and play clever through passes, will be his best contribution.

It will improve the goal ratio throughout every area of the team and add more fluidity to the style of play. At times last season, Arsenal appeared pedestrian with their passing.

Without a player who could instantly transform build-up into a one-on-one opportunity, the Gunners were frequently forced to simply string passes from side to side. With all of the play in front of the defense, opposing teams found it too easy to limit Arsenal's scoring chances, particularly those teams that set out to string numbers across midfield.

Cazorla gives Arsenal a player who can put runners in behind a defense at any time. The speed of Arsenal's play will improve with the cerebral Spaniard orchestrating the passing. Expect more one and two touch moves and goals created after only three or four passes.

That is the essence of Wenger's football philosophy and Cazorla is the ideal player to create that style on a regular basis. Even after seven trophy-less years, there are few teams who can live with Arsenal when they play the game this way.

That's why even at £16 million, Cazorla could prove to be the bargain of the season.


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