Arsenal must resist any attempts to prise Santi Cazorla from their grasp this summer as they’d be sanctioning the departure of their most dependable attacking-midfielder of last season in doing so.
Long a subject of tabloid tittle-tattle linking him to Atletico Madrid, Spanish sports daily AS have freshened up the speculation in recent days by suggesting the former Malaga star misses his motherland.
Yet right-minded Gooners should be pleased to know that the bwin odds boffins rate Arsenal 7/25 favourites to keep hold of Cazorla, with Atleti 2/1 underdogs to poach him before September 2.
Why? No attacking-midfielder started more games for Arsenal last season than the Spaniard, whose consistency of both performance and fitness made him one of Arsene Wenger’s most dependable performers.
Only Mesut Ozil served up more Premier League assists than Cazorla last term, with the World Cup winner the only one to average more goal-scoring opportunities created per game too.
In terms of chance creation that dynamic duo were some way in front of their colleagues on 2.9 and 2.2, with Theo Walcott the next most generous way back on 1.8 potential set-ups a game.
Were the Die Mannschaft maestro to succumb to injury in a Santiago-less north London, those, such as news.bwin.com/en/’s Iain Houten, who suggest he should be sold would be left without a player capable of performing the same role to a similar level.
With his worth to the squad established, it’s time to poke fun at the wisdom of selling him at this juncture of the summer window.
Few sides in world football can rival the Gunners’ reputation for foot-dragging when it comes to transfers, so the chances of them landing another player of a similar ilk before the window closes are dubious.
However, they’re not as dubious as that player’s chances of adapting to the Arsenal way of playing in time to make the kind of contribution one can expect from Cazorla before Christmas.