Santi Cazorla says he might have stayed at Arsenal if Arsene Wenger was still manager, but all the changes that summer made it difficult.
After almost two years on the sidelines with injury, Santi Cazorla was nearing a return at the end of the 2017/18 season under Arsene Wenger.
The midfielder took to the Emirates Stadium pitch for some training ahead of the Atletico Madrid clash in the Europa League, and fans were hopeful of a new contract for the Spaniard.
Sadly, after Arsene Wenger left the club, so did Cazorla, joining Villarreal. Speaking this week, the 35-year-old suggests the manager’s departure was pivotal.
“If Arsene had stayed, maybe I would have stayed at Arsenal for one more year,” he tells FourFourTwo.
“But there were a lot of changes that year, a new coach [Unai Emery], new people working in the club, so I understood the possibility that I might have to leave.”
Cazorla has five goals and four assists in 14 matches for Villarreal this season. He’s back in the Spanish national team and performing well ahead of next summer’s Euros.
We can add Cazorla along with Aaron Ramsey (and Krystian Bielik?) to the list of players Arsenal under Emery let go unnecessarily and too early.
Though you can understand why they did it in Cazorla’s case – age and injuries – they’re suffering the consequences now.
In fairness, Cazorla sprained his ankle last month, so the injury argument is valid. If Arsenal replaced the midfielder properly, that would obviously be better. The problem is that they didn’t.