Ever since Santi Cazorla lived up to his name and came to town, he’s been setting the Premier League on fire with numerous world-class performances.
Incredible vision coupled with a desire to stick to Arsenal’s passing style has led to Santi becoming one of Arsene Wenger’s most important players – and the club’s official 2012/13 player of the season.
He is unarguably an outstanding player that possesses all the qualities necessary to cut it in a top Arsenal side, but he’s also 29 years old – and that’s a funny number when it comes to football.
Before we even reach the January transfer window of the 2014/15 season, Santi will have hit 30 – and that isn’t a very good age for an Arsenal player.
It’s the age when a player can’t quite make it to the speeds he used to; it’s the age when a player begins to realise he’s no longer improving in training; and it’s the age when a player finds he can’t quite negotiate the contract he wants with the club officials.
Arsenal hate to offer older players big contracts – in terms of both their duration and financial wonders – and this causes many stars aged 30+ to seek pastures new when their current deal runs out.
Cazorla recently signed a new contract with the club that should keep him in red and white for a few more years. However, you’d have to assume that when this contract runs out, he’ll leave the club on a free transfer, causing Arsenal to forfeit any transfer fee they might have received for the player.
And speaking of transfer fees; €20 million is the reported figure Athletico Madrid are willing to pay to take the Spaniard off our hands in the current transfer window.
The La Liga champions are looking to spend some of the cash they received from the Diego Costa deal, and Arsenal’s Spanish playmaker is high on their agenda.
And although €20 million is much less than Santi’s value, you’d expect Arsene Wenger to negotiate a much higher fee for the 5’6 attacking midfielder if we decided to sell him.
And that’s the big question – should we sell Santi Cazorla? As I previously stated, it would most likely be our last chance to get a return on a player we paid around £16 million for two seasons ago, but is that something we should care about these days? Are Arsenal not in a position now where they don’t need to think about selling players for profit? Well, yes and no…
The club is certainly in a position where they don’t need to make a profit on every player they shell out a few million for. We’re capable of generating a relatively large transfer budget without additional funds from player sales.
However, every Gooner knows that this summer is going to be one of the biggest in the club’s history. World-class signings are needed. Most seem to agree that the team needs a world-class centre-forward, defensive midfielder, and winger, as well as a functional right-back and a back-up goalkeeper.
The problem we currently have is that no matter how you try to mentally-spend our rumoured war chest – one that is expected to be in the region of £80 million – you end up a little short when it comes to filling all these positions.
For starters, we’ve got no chance of snapping up three world-class players – a feat that would cost us somewhere in the region of £100 million – so you can expect us to miss out on one of the three main positions we need to improve this summer: centre-forward, defensive midfield or winger. A sacrifice will have to be made either through their quality or by passing on strengthening one of those positions altogether.
Now, if we want to bag two world-class players in those positions, it would cost us just under £80 million – around £30-40 million for each player – which would deplete our transfer kitty entirely, leaving us no funds to sort out our right back and back-up keeper.
So we have a decision to make. Do we only go for one £40 million deal, then buy budget players in all the remaining positions, or do we just go for quality, buying two top, top quality players and ignoring positions that are in dire need of added depth? It’s not a good position to be in.
And that’s where Santi Cazorla comes in. If we sold him for around £25-30 million – a fee Wenger would surely be able to persuade Athletico to meet – then that would give us the funds necessary to fill all the necessary positions this summer.
It would allow us to splash our £80 million war chest on a world-class striker to bang in the goals and a world-class winger – one that would replace Cazorla’s place on the team-sheet. The money from Cazorla’s sale could then be used to bring in a right back, defensive midfielder and back-up goalkeeper. Yes, they wouldn’t be of the highest quality, but the two Özil-style signings would hopefully make up for that.
The only problem with that plan is that we can’t be sure whether or not the money from Cazorla’s sale would go towards new players. There is every chance the club might not give Wenger extra cash to spend this summer, no matter how much is made from player sales. In that case, selling Cazorla would be a bad move. Age aside, he is a quality player, and we can’t risk losing him unless a player of equal quality comes in to replace him.
So, do I think we should sell Cazorla? It’s a tough one. If I was in charge of Arsenal’s transfer business, I’d certainly consider offers of £25 million plus. No matter what way you look at it – the money simply isn’t there for us to strengthen ourselves properly for the 2014/15. I’d be looking to bag those extra funds to ensure we had enough money available to maximise the improvement of our squad this summer. Sadly, we can’t be sure the Arsenal board would do the same, and therefore it might be best keeping hold of our lovable Spaniard this summer. You never know who might – or might not – be brought in to replace him.
What do you guys think? Let us know what you’d do in the comments.