Santi Cazorla has signed a new contract with Arsenal, the club has confirmed today. The Spanish playmaker joined Theo Walcott in extending his stay in north London.
Cazorla was Arsenal's most consistent player last season, making 53 appearances in all competitions, including a man of the match performance in the FA Cup final triumph over Aston Villa. Notably, the 30-year-old converted his game to become Arsenal's first-choice centre midfielder alongside Francis Coquelin.
Despite his importance in Arsene Wenger's squad, there were unshakeable reports that Atletico Madrid were preparing a bid to bring him back to Spain. Diego Simeone needed to replace Arda Turan and Cazorla was reportedly top of their list.
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However, there was never any doubt from within Arsenal that Cazorla wanted to leave London and this new contract will likely see him finish the peak years of his career at the Emirates. John Cross of The Mirror, claims the new deal will last until 2017. The Independent, however, says the contract will take him to 2018.
It is a remarkable turnaround for the diminutive playmaker, who in the 2013/14 season struggled to get in to Arsenal's line-up ahead of Mesut Ozil. That was before Wenger discovered Cazorla's ability to play in the centre of midfield, sitting in a deeper role alongside the combative Coquelin.
Heading into the new season, the vastly experienced Spain international is expected to start ahead of both Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. The young midfielders may have to accept a wider role on the right if Cazorla continues his fine form.
Here are some official tweets
Here's what fans think
The bigger news for Arsenal fans will be Walcott's contract. The 26-year-old was running into the final year of his current deal and the prospect of a new saga was starting to come to fruition. However, the Gunners have managed to agree a four-year deal with Walcott, who will see his pay packet rise to £140,000-a-week.
That takes him up amongst the club's highest earners, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who are both rumoured to be on the same or at least a similar amount. Having spent the majority of the last 18 months on the treatment table, Walcott's new deal has left some wondering.
Arseblog gets arsey
Arsene Wenger told Arsenal.com: “We’re delighted to have extended the contracts of Santi and Theo. Both are top quality players who are hugely important and influential to our squad.
"As well as their huge contributions on the pitch, they both have a great deal of experience and are very popular off the pitch. We’re very pleased with them both signing contract extensions, as it provides our squad with further stability of quality.”
Is Theo Walcott worth £140,000-a-week? Does Santi Cazorla deserve a three-year contract?
Give us YOUR thoughts in the comment box below!