Last month, the Spanish press broke the surprising news that Santi Cazorla had his heart set on leaving Arsenal for Atletico Madrid this summer. The Spain international was presented with an opportunity to clarify the speculation, but his follow-up quotes merely indicated that the news was indeed true.
"When the World Cup is over, I’ll start thinking about my situation,” Cazorla told AS. “I don’t want to be thinking about it right now and I’ve told my agents not to tell me anything if an offer comes in.
"I know a few of the Atletico players – Godin, Juanfran and I know the side well from when I was playing the Spanish league. But until the tournament is over, I won’t know if the rumours are true or not."
He’ll know the situation by now. Spain were eliminated from the World Cup during the group stages and the diminutive playmaker will have been notified that La Liga champions Atletico want to add him to their ranks. Diego Simeone is a big fan - and the opportunity to return to his home country appears too tempting for the 29-year-old to down turn.
Why Wenger should sell
First and foremost, there is absolutely no point keeping an unhappy player at the club. Cazorla has given Arsenal two fantastic years of service, helping the north London outfit end their nine-year trophy drought in the process, but the Gunners have plenty of players to fill his position.
In fact, if Arsene Wenger has all of his best players fit and available come the start of the 2014/15 campaign, does Cazorla even get into the starting line-up? Out of Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, who drops out for Cazorla?
Furthermore, Wenger is expected to sign a new midfielder and a new striker, meaning competition for places will become even fiercer next season.
Atletico Madrid are offering good money
Atletico Madrid are prepared to pay €22 million to sign Cazorla, which seems a very generous offer for a player approaching their 30th birthday. The Spaniard scored 12 Premier League goals in his debut season, but only managed four in his second campaign at the Emirates Stadium.
Is this a sign that Cazorla is beginning to decline as a player? If so: even more reason for Arsenal to seriously consider the sale. With so many talented stars in the Gunners’ ranks, it would be foolish on Wenger’s part to keep an unhappy player at the club while potentially hindering the development of some of the club’s most gifted youngsters.
Cazorla is replaceable. It’s just a shame this is the way his story as an Arsenal player looks set to end.
Wenger can reinvest money to fix problem positions
It’s true that Wenger has around £100 million to spend this summer, but adding another hefty lump sum to his transfer budget would allow the veteran Gunners’ boss to fix all of the team’s problem positions.
A new central defender is needed to provide cover for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, with Thomas Vermaelen set to join Manchester United; a top-class holding midfielder such as Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira could be obtainable, while another striker is essential to help ease the pressure on Olivier Giroud. Karim Benzema’s name has been mentioned - and players of such world-class calibre suddenly become realistic targets if the required funds are available to spend.
Santi Cazorla: Two-footed maestro
A deal to suit all parties
Although it might feel like a blow losing Cazorla to the Arsenal fans, who are understandably huge fans of the joyful Spaniard, this is a deal which stands to benefit all parties.
Arsenal win because they can sell an unhappy player, reinvest the money in their squad and work on assembling an even stronger team to challenge for silverware.
Atletico acquire the services of a wonderful footballer as they bid to defend their La Liga crown.
And, finally, Cazorla can return to his home country to embark on an exciting new chapter in his career.