by Lewis Ambrose
For the third consecutive summer, Santi Cazorla is being linked with a move back to Spain to play for La Liga side Atlético Madrid.
The tiny midfielder was arguably Arsenal’s player of the season last term, but is now 30 years old and faces heavy competition in the Arsenal midfield.
The younger and more athletic Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey both want to play centrally, putting Cazorla’s first-team spot in some doubt. Unless there are serious injuries it is unlikely that next season will see the Spaniard make anything close to the 53 Arsenal appearances he made in 2014/15.
It looks likely that Atléti will lose midfielder Arda Turan this summer, and Cazorla is reportedly seen as a possible replacement. Deeper in midfield the Madrd-based club also have Gabi and Tiago, both well into their thirties – some extra depth is undoubtedly needed in midfield.
But that isn’t enough for this deal to make sense. Other than returning to his home country this deal doesn’t have much in it for Cazorla, and he wouldn’t fit the extreme style of Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone.
Though his set-piece ability would be of use Cazorla wouldn’t fit in with the rest of the physically imposing side. Someone looks to intimidate the opposition, which is clearly something Cazorla isn’t exactly ideal for.
Cazorla’s squat physique also doesn’t lend itself to the intense pressing that Simeone’s side implements once they have retained their shape.
At the end of March the midfielder spoke to El Mundo about rumours linking him to Atlético Madrid.
“I’ve heard (about Atletico’s interest),” Cazorla said.
“But at the moment there is nothing concrete, only rumours. I don’t worry about that.”
“I’m focused on Arsenal, where I am very happy. I have another year on my contract and the option for one more.”
Well then, much surely hasn’t changed since the end of much. Cazorla is happy and Arsenal have no reason to sell him.
Even if they did he probably wouldn’t suit his alleged suitors anyway.
This deal isn’t happening.