When Arsenal somehow managed to mess up the League cup final against Birmingham City, it was a real low point for the fans and the club in general and after we had already waited many years since Arsenal had last lifted a trophy, the 2005 FA cup, it was beginning to look like the success we had gotten used to under Arsene Wenger might never come back.
A few scares and scrapes later, most notably going 2-0 down early on in the FA cup final against Hull City, and the Arsenal fans have at least had a couple of trophy wins to keep us warm at night. After a storming second half of last season and after our latest Premier League demolition of big rivals Manchester United, the belief is back that we could now be heading into a second era of success under the Prof.
We all hope so of course, and I wonder what the turning point was. Perhaps these words from the boss reported on the Arsenal website might explain a lot. Talking about the signing of Santi Cazorla, it sounds as though he believes it was a real turning point for the club.
Wenger said, “You could question whether he was physically equipped to play in the tough Premier League. It’s true that I had that doubt, but his quality was so big that I was ready to take that gamble.
“His technical quality, his right foot, left foot, his availability, his vision and the quality of his passing made me go for it.
“I thought, ‘If there is a team in the Premier League where he has a chance to make it, it’s with us.’ That’s why I went for it.
“I think I first saw him when he was about 20 or 21,” he said. “He was not a regular player, but in some games we watched you could see he had talent.
“After that Robert Pires moved to Villarreal and played with him. Sometimes I asked Robert, ‘Are there any good players there?’
“He said to me straight away, ‘Cazorla is a fantastic player’. So Robert was a scout for me! He at least confirmed the impression I already had about Santi.”
Don´t forget that Arsenal and Wenger were still paying off the debt at this point and if Malaga had not hit the financial skids then we might never have got the little Spanish magician and who knows where we would have gone from there. So was this one risky signing the start of Arsenal´s second summer of success under Wenger?