Santi Cazorla Leaves Arsenal After Expiration of His Contract with Club

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2018

Arsenal's captain Santi Cazorla during their English Premier League soccer match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Santi Cazorla has left Arsenal following the expiration of his contract, the club announced Monday.

A statement on the Gunners' official website paid tribute to the Spaniard, who joined the club from Malaga in 2012 but had not played for Arsenal since an Achilles injury in October 2016.

The statement hailed Cazorla as "an integral part of the team" and "one of the most technically gifted players in the Premier League."

Meanwhile, the midfielder himself delivered a farewell message:

Cazorla will leave the club having made 180 appearances and scored 29 goals in all competitions.

He was often hampered by injury during his Arsenal career, but, when fit, he was arguably the key player in Arsene Wenger's first team, capable of forming a link between defence and attack.

The now-departed French manager said Cazorla might receive a new contract at the Emirates Stadium despite his long-term injury problems, per MailOnline's Adam Crafton.

But the 33-year-old has been released and is expected to rejoin former club Villarreal, per James Benge of the Evening Standard.

A perennial favourite with Arsenal fans, Cazorla is sure to be much missed at the Emirates Stadium.

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