Did anyone else see Santi Cazorla dejectedly trudge around the Wembley pitch after the Carabao Cup final? It was almost as if the Spaniard was longing for that feeling of playing on a football pitch one more time.
The Spaniard is currently sidelined with a plantar fascia that’s kept him out since October 2016. As much as he’s missed playing football, Arsenal have missed him the more.
Despite having Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Mohammed Elneny, Granit Xhaka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as CM options, Santi Cazorla’s presence has been sorely missed. If the Gunners don’t sign a replacement for him in the summer, his absence will continue to be a problem.
Here’s why Arsenal must sign a replacement for Santi Cazorla at the end of the season.
In the past 3 seasons, Santi Cazorla has missed 114 games through injury for Arsenal. This injury record suggests that the Spaniard won’t be fit for a long time and Arsenal must start to prepare for life without him.
The Gunners have sorely missed the Spaniard as he offers a style of play none of the other midfielders can replicate. Santi Cazorla is a creative CM that can wriggle out of tight spaces, create chances from the middle third, link the midfield & attack and score set pieces.
In the past, his close control and agility have allowed him to relieve Arsenal of opposing teams that press for cohesion. His trickery creates space for others as defenders are drawn to him, thus vacating their positions.
Such a creative presence helps take Wengerball to new heights where they can actually compete for the title, without that creative touch, Arsenal is an uninspiring team. Many don’t seem to understand how crucial Santi Cazorla is to Arsène Wenger’s style of play.
At this moment in time, Jack Wilshere’s deal expires in the summer, Aaron Ramsey is angling for a move outside of North London while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is too young to start in the league. Basically, there’s no one available to replicate the skillset of Santi Cazorla inside the club, so Arsenal must consider options in the window.
Who could Arsenal sign?
The Juventus midfielder is an influential but not integral part of Juventus’ midfield. When playing there are not many who can have a more significant effect on the game than the Bosnian but seeing as Massimiliano Allegri prides his team on defensive solidity, Pjanić is not indispensable. Like Santi, Pjanić has excellent close control, and his eye for a pass is second to none. The 27-year-old has provided 7 assists in 21 games while creating on average 2.2 chances a game.
Throughout the summer, Arsenal was linked with a move for the Ivorian as were Barcelona, Tottenham & Liverpool. And with good reason, Jean-Michael Seri is a creative force to be reckoned with through the middle.
This season, Seri has averaged 2.2 chances and 1.5 dribbles per game. The 26-year-old thrives on charging into the final third with bundles of energy; he has the ability to destabilise low-block defences. At Arsenal, Jean Seri would be the key to unlocking to tightly-packed defences, thus taking some weight off the shoulders of Mesut Özil.