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A Santi Cazorla move to Arsenal could make sense for Villarreal in the long run

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One of these good friends has moved on; what about the other? An Arsenal move for Santi Cazorla could be very interesting indeed.
One of these good friends has moved on; what about the other? An Arsenal move for Santi Cazorla could be very interesting indeed.

This is beginning to seem like the summer that will never end for Villarreal supporters, and for that matter the team itself. Certainly Coach Garrido expected by now he would know if one of his "cracks" would move, but uncertainty continues to rule the day.

The Rossi-Barcelona saga ended without agreement, Rossi-Juve appears to have done so as well but now Santi Cazorla is the man in the spotlight. Malaga offered Villarreal €20m for his services, and were turned down; but now there's interest from Arsenal.

By way of background, Barcelona is still trying to obtain Cesc Fabregas, by hook, crook or some amount less than Arsenal's asking price (€40m) and are going to make another (last?) attempt to sign him this weekend.

It's been reported Arsenal want Santi Cazorla if Cesc goes, and would like to splash money on Valencia's Juan Mata as well. The Gunners have the cash anyhow, but need a place for Santi to play. Word today is Arsenal have indeed approached Villarreal about Santi, but so far have only offered the same €20m as Málaga. Could well be that Arsenal are exploring whether Santi could be available if Cesc moves.

This morning's EPM has a well-argued article by correspondent José Luis Lizarraga, titled "A necessary transfer" which points out that Villarreal has always been willing to sell a player if the club can be improved as a result--think of Reina or Forlán, for instance. And therefore Sr. Roig has been willing to consider various sales this summer rather than declaring "the template is closed" at an early point.

I don't read the article as saying Roig has decided Villarreal must sell a player, but that if a good deal can be made which enables the club to improve itself, a sale could happen, even at this late date. In my opinion, a sale of Santi to Arsenal could fit that bill, in a way Santi to Málaga would not, or indeed a sale of Rossi to anyone.

Although clearly Pellegrini and Villarreal know each other well, selling Santi to Málaga would strengthen a direct rival for a Champions League place, and while Villarreal supporters would be unhappy to see Santi move in any event (I certainly would--I own one of his CL shirts!!), they would be especially unhappy to see him move to a (currently) smaller domestic side, certainly one with less history and success.

Arsenal, on the other hand, would be a more attractive destination inasmuch as the two clubs are not direct rivals, and the teams have dealt with one another before (Pires, Cygan). And of course the club has oodles of history and a huge fanbase; Santi would presumably welcome a new challenge, unless he felt leaving La Liga would put his national team spot in some danger.

Some of these points are nicely made in a article, though unfortunately the author prefaces it all by saying a sale of Rossi is more likely. I don't think so, but it's true that Villarreal would only sell one of the two.

Rossi seems completely happy to get on with things at Villarreal, and the Juventus option seems to have fallen away from the Spanish sports pages and twitter, and even the Italian papers seem to have muted their drumbeats a bit. As for moving to Atlético Madrid? Uh-uh.

And does selling Rossi to anyone improve Villarreal? It's hard to see it does; he and Nilmar have just formed a strong partnership and can be the nucleus up front for a while.

On the other hand, a Santi-to-Arsenal move would be more attractive for Villarreal, if Santi wanted to go (and perhaps he would be more willing to consider a move now that his good buddy Joan Capdevila has left).

Of course Santi Cazorla is a critical player for Villarreal, but if Arsenal offered €25m for him, and Villarreal knows they can sign Canales and Canella with some of the sale moneys, how do you turn that down? €25m is a lot of money for an attacking midfielder, let's face it. And if you sell him outside the league, you aren't improving your competitors for CL spots.

Again, my heart says no, but....

Villarreal play Wolfsburg today (it actually starts around 11:30AM EDT); Camuñas has joined the team, Zapata will do so Monday. Carlos Marchena, meanwhile, has been granted a personal leave to attend to some family matters; we hope all is well. As a reminder, here is the team for this friendly. There may be a stream available as Canal Nou is broadcasting the game, or at least part of it. if not, twitter should keep us informed as to progress.

After this, Villarreal return home, with their next match the Ceramica Trophy game against Lazio at the end of the month before leaving to play Everton and Wigan. Expect the next couple of days to be very busy in the team offices!