Ever since his move from Malaga to the Emirates, Santi Cazorla has been one of the most important players for Arsenal. The Spaniard’s artistry on the ball, leadership on the pitch and versatility have all been sorely missed and the correlation with Arsenal’s drop in form and Santi’s injury is evident for all to see, not just this season but the previous campaign as well.
Unfortunately, the Spanish magician has had yet another setback in his rehabilitation and has confirmed that he will not be available for at least another five months, meaning that he will be absent till November and the time frame may increase in case of further complications. The player has had to undergo as many as eight surgeries after damaging his ankle during Arsenal’s 6-0 rout of Ludogorets in the Champions League group stage.
As quoted by Sky Sports, the Spaniard said: “You feel like throwing in the towel but my desire to play football is above everything. I haven’t been given a timeframe. It’s very difficult to put a date, but I don’t think it will be before five months.I’ve undergone eight surgeries, the last one (on Monday). I hope that things go better.”
I have to say, I fully understand Arsenal’s decision to hand Santi a new contract earlier in the year. The player is of world-class caliber and is a valuable asset to the team. But at 32 years of age and long-term injuries being a regular occurence, surely Arsenal have to look at life beyond the diminutive midfielder. While I am certainly not suggesting that the club let him go, I would not bank on the player’s fitness.
So in my opinion, Arsenal have to find another midfielder in the mold of Santi. Whilst Xhaka and Ramsey have been good towards the latter stages of the season, Santi’s technical brilliance and creativity on the ball has been sorely missed and Arsenal could benefit significantly by bringing in a midfielder who has the ability to bring that kind of artistry back to the Gunners’ midfield. Marco Verratti anyone?
Who do you think is a similar replacement?