Arsenal Transfer News: Santi Cazorla Exit Likely Amid Villarreal Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2018

Arsenal's Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla (L) trains on the pitch ahead of the UEFA Europa League first leg semi-final football match  between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 26, 2018. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Santi Cazorla is set to leave Arsenal as a free agent this summer and could join up with La Liga side Villarreal for pre-season, with the Gunners not expected to try to sign the midfielder to a new deal.

Per James Benge of the London Evening Standard, Cazorla has yet to make a decision regarding his future, but Villarreal seem confident he will join them in the summer:

Benge noted the 33-year-old has been sidelined with an Achilles injury since 2016. Any club that signs him would be taking a massive risk, explaining why the Yellow Submarine would rather have him prove his fitness in pre-season first.

While there are a lot of fans who will be sad to see him go, some pointed out this is likely a good thing for Arsenal:

Cazorla was a fantastic and loyal servant for the club in his prime, spending more than half a decade in north London. He joined the club from Malaga in 2012 and quickly became a fan favourite thanks to his quick feet, dribbling skills and sublime vision.

Per the report, his close connection to Mikel Arteta―Arsenal's likely new manager―will not lead to a new contract. Arsene Wenger previously stated he hoped the Spaniard would sign a new deal.

Despite the persistent injuries, the club continued to believe in Cazorla until the end and even put out this video earlier in May to celebrate his return to training:

At this stage of his career, it's unclear whether we will ever see Cazorla play in a high-level, competitive match ever again. There will undoubtedly be a number of clubs willing to give him a shot in pre-season, but a return to Spain, away from the prying eyes of the British press, may be a good move for the playmaker.

He rose to fame at El Madrigal―now known as the Estadio de la Ceramica―and is still a popular figure in the city of Villarreal. A happy ending in the form of a successful return would be a great conclusion to his career and something Gunners fans would also probably like to see.

With Wenger's departure, this is yet another change the club will have to deal with. But because of his inactivity over the past few years, that shouldn't be an issue.

Related

    Live: Nations League Action

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Live: Nations League Action

    Ed Aarons
    via the Guardian

    Live: England vs. USMNT

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Live: England vs. USMNT

    Ben Fisher
    via the Guardian

    Prem Clubs to Pay Outgoing Exec $6.4M Bonus

    Arsenal logo
    Arsenal

    Prem Clubs to Pay Outgoing Exec $6.4M Bonus

    James Dudko
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Arsenal and Tottenham Make Bailly Enquiries

    Arsenal logo
    Arsenal

    Report: Arsenal and Tottenham Make Bailly Enquiries

    Matt Jones
    via Bleacher Report