One or two media outlets have suggested the signing of Santi Cazorla may have gone some way to changing Robin van Persie’s mind about wanting to leave Arsenal.
It’s too late for that now, and Cazorla’s arrival makes it even more unlikely Van Persie will be staying; in fact, signing the Spaniard may even mean the Gunners captain is no longer quite so important.
Before his ill-advised ‘update’ for fans of the Emirates Stadium club, keeping Van Persie was overwhelmingly the preferred option and many supporters would have harboured hopes he would not follow in the footsteps of many Arsenal stars in recent years.
However, Cazorla’s arrival will lighten the blow of Van Persie’s apparent inevitable departure and may even mean the team becomes stronger as a collective.
The 27-year-old will replace RVP as the team’s focal point and, while this will obviously not be in the same position, he would be more easily replaceable in the long-term.
Behind Cazorla you have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whom Wenger sees as a central midfielder of the future, and Jack Wilshere, once he return from his long-standing injury problems.
They are two youthful and exciting players; a pair that one could envisage playing together in the middle of the pitch, interchanging with fluidity and providing a highly creative hub.
Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski were purchased earlier in the summer to augment the Gunners strike force and could well form a front two partnership once last season’s top scorer leaves.
Giroud is a strong, traditional centre-forward so there will be no discussion about where his place in the team will be, but Podolski is highly versatile and he provides Wenger with the ability to change the shape of the team without necessarily having to make personnel changes.
Losing Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas last summer, along with Wilshere’s absence, obviously left a dearth of creativity in the squad and the number of goals scored by Van Persie is a testament to his sublime movement in and around the area, but this may not be as vital now.
Cazorla is a supremely talented technician and has the ability to find passes many others cannot, which makes a greater number of supporting attackers a danger to the opposition.
Imagining the combination of Cazorla and Van Persie, added to the efforts of Theo Walcott, will be a bittersweet thought for many Arsenal fans.
On paper, it is a formidable front line and could conceivably be considered one of the most potent in the league, even more so when you consider the additions of Podolski and Giroud.
Alas, it looks as though this will never be seen by Arsenal fans, other than in the friendly with Cologne later this week.
Despair for Gunners need not live long though, as the man just joined from Malaga has the capacity to make them forget bout Van Persie very quickly.
Wenger has captured a quality player in his prime and reportedly for a bargain price; a player who could unlock defences and some of the vast potential that lies within his squad.
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