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Santi Cazorla Reportedly Not Expected to Play for Arsenal Again Due to Injury

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2017

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18:  Santi Cazorla of Arsenal in action during an Arsenal training session on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group A match against Ludogorets Razgrad at London Colney on October 18, 2016 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla is reportedly in danger of missing the entire 2017-18 season due to his ongoing injury issues, prompting fears he has played his final game for the club.

According to Jack Staplehurst of the Daily Express, the problems that have clouded the past two years of Cazorla's career show no sign of ending. The Spain international suffered an Achilles issue in October and didn't feature again in the campaign.

Per Staplehurst, "Cazorla's best hope of returning to action will potentially be for Arsenal's under-23s, no earlier than April."

As noted in the article, Arsenal took up the option to extend Cazorla's contract until 2018 despite his layoffs. However, there would be reluctance to keep him at the Emirates Stadium beyond that date, with the former Villarreal man poised to miss the best part of two seasons.

Bleacher Report's James McNicholas suggested that while Cazorla is a fine player, Arsenal need to be realistic in assessing the situation:

gunnerblog @gunnerblog

Reports Cazorla could be out until well into 2018. Sadly he’s into Rosicky territory now - Arsenal need to plan without him.

Since being moved into a deeper position in the centre of midfield, the playmaker excelled. While he may not be the most dynamic footballer, the touch, vision and intelligence the 32-year-old possesses makes him so difficult to contain; given time he can pass the opposition into submission.

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These numbers from Squawka Football show what he's capable of when fit and firing:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Santi Cazorla's Premier League pass accuracy over the last 3 years: 2014/15 = 89.2% 🎯 2015/16 = 90.2% 🎯 2016/17 = 91.2% 🎯 Always rising. 📈 https://t.co/Ixs8hyKE53

Arsenal don't have another player like him—few teams in world football do—and the news that he's set to miss the vast majority of the upcoming campaign represents an enormous blow. 

Manager Arsene Wenger must make a decision on whether to delve into the transfer market for a replacement, although signing a player with pedigree comparable to that of Cazorla will be a difficult and expensive exercise.

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