Spanish newspaper AS has suggested Santi Cazorla doesn't feel it would be a step backwards to join Atletico Madrid.
As Diego Simeone has seen his La Liga winning Atletico side ripped apart, rumours have persisted that Cazorla could be one of the players drafted in for the coming season.
Arsenal’s reported interest in various top quality European midfielders could force Cazorla out of the exit door and AS believes that a deal for the Gunner could still be possible.
“Sources in England insist Atleti are interested in acquiring the player, while the footballer himself doesn’t feel it would be a bad move to leave Arsenal and move to Madrid,” reports AS.
“Atleti therefore are maintaining their interest, particularly given that Simeone would like a player to compete with Arda and Koke.”
However, the Spanish newspaper and website is misguided in a few respects in terms of thinking that a deal could be possible.
Cazorla is perceived to be behind Mesut Ozil in the number ten role at Arsenal next season, but that doesn’t mean he’ll spend the majority of the campaign on the bench.
He proved last year that he’s a far more versatile player than many give him credit for. He made a collective 27 appearances playing on the left and right hand side of Arsenal’s attack last season.
Atletico may present the opportunity for him to play through the middle more frequently but Arsene Wenger has already hinted that Cazorla will have a chance to start the season as Arsenal’s number ten.
Wenger doesn’t expect Mesut Ozil to be fit for the first game against Crystal Palace, which suggests Cazorla will be the man in behind Olivier Giroud and that’s his chance to put as much pressure as possible on the boss before Ozil’s return.
If Cazorla hits the ground running, he can change the perception that Ozil is the main number ten and force the German to be the one forced to play slightly out of position.
Would he be a good signing for Atletico? Absolutely. Is Arsene Wenger naïve enough to let him leave? Absolutely not.
How important is Cazorla to this current Arsenal team?