Santa Claus [Santi Cazorla] is coming to town…

Two weeks ago, current Malaga boss, Manuel Pellegrini stated:

“To sell him for 20m euros would be to give him away – I do not believe the club would do that.”

But two weeks later, for a reported fee of £12.5m, the Spanish midfielder has now [virtually] joined the Arsenal 2012 revolution as Arsene bids to change our fortunes and turn our nearly side into a side that can challenge for the title. Just imagine the following line up:

Giroud

Podolski – Cazorla – Walcott

Arteta – Song

Gibbs – Vermaelen – Koscielny – Sagna

Szcznesy

With a compliment of other players to add to the first XI… Wilshere, Gervinho, Oxlade, Diaby, Coquelin, Frimpong, Rosicky and more… Buying three first team players of high quality with the ability to go straight into the team is something we rarely do. This time we have and it means business.

The announcement was made today and Arsene has spoken very highly of the player:

“Santi Cazorla is a great signing for us. He is a player with good experience at both club and international level, who will add significant quality to our squad. He is a versatile, attacking midfield player who can play comfortably on either side of the pitch or centrally. He has good pace, is technically gifted and will be a huge asset to Arsenal Football Club. We are delighted that he is joining us.”

The player himself saying:

“I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal. This is a club with great players, a fantastic stadium and huge support. The Club has one of the best managers in football and their style of play is recognised and admired all over the world. I’m so excited to be joining one of the greatest teams in Europe and also in the Premier League. I will do my best to help Arsenal challenge for trophies and make all the supporters happy.”

It’s amazing to see him join, to see Giroud and Podolski also join and it’s a clear sign of ambition and intent. The squad is very strong now and if we can just get rid of the players who we don’t want and get in a quality defensive signing, then our odds for the title will be slashed without a doubt!

The question is…

Where will he play? How will all our new signings fit it? Great to be talking about this…!

  • Speedster

    I actually thought it was all smoke and mirrors! But he’s actually signed!!!!

    WOHOO!!

  • Patrick

    A German international with 100 caps for his country, the top goal scorer in France last season and now, an experienced and talented Spanish international who surely would have won more caps for Spain had it not been for the exceptional talent of their current midfield. Not bad for a club lacking ambition and unlikely to challenge for honours, eh RvP!

  • garth

    The good thing is that these transfers aren’t “lateral moves” – these guys are each taking a step up to be at Arsenal. They should be hungry. Cazorla even said it was his last chance to sign for a big club. Three guys like that, who are already accomplished AND also hungry – will be nice to watch.

    As for RvP, Rooney also had his very serious spat with Man Utd where he even threatened to go to City, and yet by now it’s all forgiven, if not forgotten. RvP is also now out of desirable options. If RvP reacts to the new situation as I think he will – as a challenge for him to prove that he is better than the men who came in to replace him – then even RvP could elevate his game, and attitude, next season.

  • ArseFan101

    Cazorla will be our Silva.

    He is immense. The fact we’ve brought 3 first teamers (as you say) is good. It means the people who weren’t good enough have effectively been replaced with better.

  • German

    I think Arsenal are definitely trying their best to prepare the squad for the TITLE!!

    Come on!!!

  • andrew

    I LOVE the signing!!! Now if only my beloved Robin would re-sign. We have gone some way to address the one man attack from last season. Where is our remedy for the defence? As the table below shows, we were off the pace in scoring goals.

    I am hopeful that Giroud, Podolski, Cazorla, an improving Gervinho and the Ox as well as a more consistent Walcott can remedy. And if RVP stays!!! I think we’ll see the gap between us and the top of 15-20 goals scored greatly reduced.

    But what about the defence? We shipped 20 more goals than ManC!!!! What have we done to fix it? If any of our backline get injured, who replaces them?

    Man City Goals for: 93 Goals against: 29 Points: 89
    Man United Goals for: 89 Goals against: 33 Points: 89
    Arsenal Goals for: 74 Goals against: 49 Points: 70

    Thoughts????

  • CON-MAN

    defence is the best form of attack? I would like another CB to be honest

    do you guys want RVP back?

    AW said Giroud/Podolski might not be ready for the prem season day 1

  • SpeedDemon

    @ CON-MAN:
    Yep – all this attackingness will be underminded unless we get re-inforcements in the defence – or DM.

    Jenkinson, Squillaci, Djourou + Metersacker not good enough!
    If Arsene has been this busy so far, let’s hope we have a DM and / or CD up our sleeve….!!!

  • German

    @ andrew:
    Definitely need to sign someone defensive.
    I shudder to think Mertersacker, Djourou, Miquel or Squillaci playing!

  • flamez

    people askin about defensive reinforcement are missing an obvious point, last season our defr was injury ravaged, we fielded 19 different combinations in 38 games.

    also a lot of our defensive problems last year came from a lack of work from midfield in helping the defence out. verm kos gibbs and sagna are a superb defensive unit given the limited time they have played all together, mert and bartley are both good enough to play back-up (bartley as 3rd choice, got high hopes 4 him) jenkinson and yennaris can fight for the second choice spot on the right and santos as back-up on the left.

    if steve bould can get the def and mid working properley then i dont see defensive signings as essential.

    last season we shipped 49 goals, but if we take off the first 5 games, its down to 34, only 1 behind city, given that we were all over the shop till the end of september, our defence the rest of the season wernt that bad

  • Andrew

    @ flamez

    I would be more than happy if our first choice back line stayed the same. You are correct it was an injury problem last term but when hasn’t that been our issue??? Guarantee that back four will play almost every game together this term and I’ll be delighted! It’s the backups that worry me.

  • levan

    Yes we have made some decent signings and most of us will be delighted with who has come in so far as they should all be a decent improvement on what we have. BUT…….and there’s always a but with Arsenal these days…..at the end of the transfer window, we are likely to have pretty much balanced the books yet again so the argument is still very strong with regards to ‘where’s the investment’? Selling your best player(s) each season for a large sum of money and signing a couple of ‘lesser’ replacements isn’t really what we are looking for. I’d much rather we sold most of the deadwood (even for knock down prices), get the wage bill down significantly, and invest in top quality to supplement our top players and help to keep them happy. As it is now, it looks like we could finish the transfer window something like this:

    SIGNED:
    Poldi – £10m
    Giroud – £13.5m
    Cazorla – 12-15m?

    SOLD:
    RVP – £20m
    Vela – £4m
    Arshavin – £4m?
    Bendtner – £7m?

    Now I’m all for selling Vela, Arsh and Barry B, but what I’d love to see is us KEEPING our top players and then spending £40m, that would be investment. Yet again at the end of this transfer window, unless there are one or more surprise signings coming in, then we could well have spent a net £0 on transfers, meaning the transfer budget has been untouched for yet another season, only to disappear into the ether…..

  • bernwick

    On 5 live – that RVP to manure is all but done and dusted…dunno if it’s the usual rumour mongering, but the manchester Evening News/Post? is running it as a done deal ! Just when I though 1 or 2 more decent defensive signings and we could challenge properly for the title…shoulda known better.

    I know RvP’s going but if Wenger sells him to Utd then he can go fork himself irrespective of the good players brought in already.

    Surely it is just a point of principle, can you imagine Lord Fergal of Fergus reciprocating and flogging his best player to us? Wouldn’t happen. Ffs for once dig your heels in (I know it’s genetic to want to surrender) and tell them to bollocks.

    Why not flog Sagna to the Spuds while you’re at it?

    IF RVP does go to manure he deserves absolute dogs abuse….he surely knows how we feel about them….same with $hitty…also he can’t claim money isn’t part of it…even though he may cite trophies as his main reason….if he wants to go fine…but let him go abroad…if not – then let him ave it both barrels at every game he turns out against us.

  • ArseManual

    @ flamez:

    Do you think Gibbs is a weak link?

  • flamez

    @andrew

    our back-ups aint as bad as they were last year, djourou and squilachhi dont enter our top four cb’s anymore, yennaris is a good right-back, just needs more games there. left is worst spot cause i dont trust santos, but maybe he can improve this year

    @ArseManual

    yes as in he’s the weakest player in our first choice back 4, but i still think hes the best LB at the club, and still worth sticking with

  • flamez

    @Himmat

    Do you write for ArseBlog, or are you just copying another article, as that is word perfect to an article on there site i read.

    A little Plagiarism me thinks?

  • himmat

    wrong

  • himmat

    Do you think RVP is a bigger mecenary than ADE cole nasri and clichy put together if he goes to man u?

    i mean what an absolute Crunt if he goes there.
    All the shit about im a gooner and that is just dogs bollox.

  • devday

    Please refrain from copying articles from other sites

  • devday

    @ himmat:

    I don’t quite get Van Persie
    He was / is a hero and we’ve been very active this summer. Out stadium debts are reducing and we’re spending. And NOW he wants to leave.

    Strange boy.

  • CON-MAN

    @ andrew:
    my bad i meant attack is the best form of defence!

  • Bonathan

    Well, i actually didn’t blame RVP for wanting to move at first. he’s getting toward the end of his best years and wants to win something and yes, wants to earn more money at the same time. who can blame him?

    but, now that we’v made the signings we have and made it clear we would like him to stay, he cannot say we lack ambition. also, no real madrid or barcelona have come in for him, and man city’s interest appears to have cooled. so yo have to think, where will he be guarenteed more trophies than us??

    ok, maybe an italian club, but what’s the point in playing in a rigged league? so now it appears that money is more of a draw to a new club than i previously thought.

    ok, so nited have had plenty of success over the years, but after the shift of power last season and united financial difficulties, as well as some of the more experienced players starting to look way past their best (ferdinand, evra) , a dodgy keeper, scholes and giggs finally starting to look as if they really can’t hack the pace anymore (if anyone saw giggs for team GB then you have to wonder whether he’ll make it through this season), and surely rooney is finally due an injury.

    to me, they are a club on the decline. and i really think they are this time, the financial difficulties and ferguson surely now nearing retirement are gonna hit them hard over the coming years.

    they appear to have made a useful signing in kagawa, but they need more than that and they know it. they need van persie so much. that is why we cannot let him go to them. they will struggle to find anybody else anywhere near that quality and i find it a bit silly that RVP is interested in them. i actually think they need him more than we do.

    so money is clearly playing a big part here.

    united have no chance at all of winning the league withot RVP. with him however, they will be a force. i really didn’t see this happening at the start of summer. i thought man city. this story of united is gathering more and more momentum though and u can’t help but think it will happen and rvp wants it. what’s more, i think his agent has agreed this some time ago.

    it’s certainly strange that mancini pulled out of the race claiming he knew they were losing the race. sounds like he knew a deal had been done to me. same thing with nasri last year only with opposite clubs.

    i would have found it easier if he went to citeh, cos they are gonna be around for a while now whatever. wherreas i believe that united could easily falter. especially if they fail to pull of this signing.

  • flamez

    @himmat

    wrong on which part, i can link you the original if you woild like.

    Come on us gooners should be more original than that 😉

  • hem

    @himmat- yes, total lack of respect for the club… i reall hope we can solve this

  • hem

    We appear to have made some decent signings – but we should not allow ourselves to be blinded by them. Taking account of all factors (inc prestige, morale, appeal)I doubt that all three will make up for the loss of Robin (should he go). And I supect that Arsene knows this. Apart from the damage to the Club, his own credibility is at stake. It’s an entirely different scenario to last year: he okayed Fab’s departure and he was drawing out Naz’s departure to get a better deal for the hierarchy. This time he is at loggerheads with them. It’s odds on that if Robin goes, Arsene will offer his own resignation. Will the hierarchy push it that far to get a fee for Robin? I very much doubt it.

  • hem

    What players would be good signings for Arsenal? And I’m not talking about their talent, I’m talking about what type of player they are.

    The first player that comes to mind is Inter Milan veteran, and the most decorated Argentinian player of all time, Esteban Cambiasso. Now, I am not talking about signing a player who is 32 years old this month, but I am talking about his style of play, a Cambiasso-like player.

    What I see him doing for Inter Milan, is running non-stop. Firstly, he will become the third centre-back, or cover for an out-of-place full-back. Then he will suddenly pick up the ball, and charge forward, with the ball or without it. He can then slot the ball into a winger or striker ahead of him. If the Inter team have just attacked, and are now having to defend, he stays in the centre of the park, and he is almost a defence by himself in front of the actual defence. If he is beaten, which only happen about four times out of ten, he then tracks back and attempts to win the ball back or position himself in a area where he will win it back.

    Wilshere reminds me of his style of play, essentially a box-to-box player, although he is not as strong, and does not have as good an eye for goal as Cambiasso. For example, he scored against Chelsea in the Champions League, and they went on to win it. One problem with this, though, is that Jack is injured, and every day that goes on, and he isn’t back in training, I worry he may never play again.

    Song also plays like this, although he is much more defensively minded, but when he comes forward he can give some amazing assists. He finished the season with twelve, some almost winning us the game, for example against Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham, and he provided a great one in the Aston Villa game at the Emirates.

    Arteta is also very capable of doing this. He was bred to become a central defensive midfielder, was turned into an attacker at Everton, and was then put back into that more defensive position at Arsenal. He is talented in attack, and can score from distance, like he did against Wigan and Man City.

    But Arsenal don’t have anyone trained to be a box-to-box player, one who is as good at defending as he is at attacking. Song is arguably better in defence, and Arteta is better in attack. The reason Arsenal need a player like this is that Premier League players are some of the fittest in the world and run at full-pelt right up to the 90th minute. If we bring on a substitute who can attack and defend from midfield, then, if we are drawing, they can score, and, if we are winning, they can help prevent a goal – something every football team needs, in my opinion.

    The next type of player who would fit into Arsenal’s team, possibly the starting line-up, could be a Sergio Ramos. Once again, I am not saying that we should sign Ramos, as we could never match his wages at Madrid, and I personally think that we have a good enough right-back, but that isn’t where I would play him. I would play him on the left. He was talented at centre-back as a young boy, but was told that he was too small to be a centre-back, even though he is six foot, so he was played at right-back and was an obvious talent. During the Euros, all of the Spanish centre-backs were unavailable expect Pique, so Ramos played centre-back and Arbeloa replaced him at right-back. We have versatile players in defence who can play at full-back, but are really centre-backs (Vermaelen and Koscielny), but we don’t have a full-back who can play at centre-back if needed.

    This is something I believe Arsenal need, because we still don’t have a full-back who can defend as well as attack. Sagna and Gibbs are not the greatest defensive attackers in the world and Santos is not the greatest defender. A player who has been converted from a centre-back to a right-back has proved that he can defend, but he will also have the innate ability to attack which Sergio Ramos does. Wenger has been playing a system where the wingers sometimes come into the centre of the park, and that means that the full-backs then have to replace them when we are on the attack. Santos does this and can’t get back well enough, and Sagna gives good assists but can’t score.

    After the purchase of Giroud, and – hopefully – van Persie staying after hearing the news of Cazorla’s purchase, and hopefully Şahin’s arrival this week, Wenger may now play the team in a different formation from last season’s 4-3-3. A 4-2-2-2 may be a better approach, and, if the wingers cut into the middle, then the full-backs are going to have to replace them as I have said. We need a Ramos-like player as he has been proven to be able to score goals and his Euro 2012 performances quietened anyone who claimed he couldn’t defend, and as Arsenal need a player like that in both full-back positions.

    But really, who knows what Wenger is plotting in his head? Maybe he will buy Cambiasso or Ramos, or maybe even Heskey?! Let’s just wait and see. The summer window is a long way from closed.

  • pilan

    @hem- you make some good points.Valid concerns imo. I think when you are selling world class talent away, it’s rare that you can replace them with equal or better talents. So in that regard, it’s expected even though it sucks.
    The 50+ conceded is a worry. I do feel Cazorla could help the defense as it can potential help allievate the creative burden placed on Song/Arteta, and allow (Song in particular) on supporting the defense.
    I think the general feeling out there, and you are welcome to disagree, is that we have solid defenders but are just missing the balance of support from the midfield. I certainly share this opinion as being a defender myself, it can attest to the importance of the players infront of you covering space/holes to help you do your job.
    As for tippy-tappy, unproven? I’ll take it myself. There is no better defense than not allowing the opposition having the ball, and you can only create goals yourself by having the ball at your feet, not launching downfield and hoping.

  • deacon

    Right, I don’t want to be one of those Arsenal fans who complain all the time about everything. I don’t want to be the kind of person who, when given a Ferrari, starts whinging about the paucity of cup-holders. However, in the last article I posted here, which was about what a great season I thought Alex Song had had, I got slated by just about everyone, and, on reflection, perhaps I was a little too glowing in my assessment of him. So this time I thought, b***s to it, time to get back to some good old-fashioned complaining.

    Having said that, I would like to begin by saying how delighted I am that the Arsenal board has finally shown some ambition by signing exciting, established international players before the start of the season, spending somewhere in the region of 40 million sheets in the process. I think it’s great that, after the débacle of last August, they’ve actually made a conscious effort not to repeat their mistakes. I think all three of the new players are potentially very exciting, and it shows that, at the very least, a top-four spot looks a lot more secure than it did a few games into the last campaign, when we were worse than England.

    Okay, here comes the but … I’m sure I’m not the only person to have noticed that the new signings, as sexy as they are, don’t address the real problem with the team, which is a lack of fight in those games where the pretty passing game isn’t working and we have to tough it out for a draw or a one-nil. Scoring goals has never been a problem for Arsenal; even when we were thrashed at Old Trafford last season, we scored twice, which is no mean feat when you are playing United on their own patch. The problem was that we conceded eight. Other matches which spring to mind: 4-4 away to Newcastle the season before last, 3-2 at home to Spurs, 3-2 away to Swansea last season … In short, even when we don’t win, we usually score.

    I was therefore hoping Wenger would bring in at least one tough-tackling workhorse to sit in front of the defence, either instead of or alongside Song, to roll his sleeves up, get stuck in (insert more clichés here), and generally make a nuisance of himself. For a while we were, apparently, looking at Yann M’Vila, but interest seems to have cooled. This might be because he is, by all accounts, a difficult character, and having offloaded Gallas, Adebayor and hopefully, by the time this gets posted, that smirking, obnoxious, boxer short wearing Danish cretin Nicklas Bendtner, the last thing we need in the dressing-room is another mouthy bell-end with opinions bigger than his talent. So fair enough, perhaps M’Vila was never the right man for the job. But, having tacitly admitted that we are weak in that area, Wenger appears to have given up on trying to sort it out, and gone and blown his load on three players of a completely different ilk. It’s as if he’s prepared himself for an Everest attempt by purchasing some lingerie after failing to find a winter coat in his size in the one shop he looked in.

    Now, I know there are counter-arguments. Wenger himself would say that the way Arsenal play doesn’t require a ‘holding’ midfielder in the traditional sense of the word. When the team attacks, everyone gets involved, moving the ball around and making off-the-ball runs. When the team needs to defend, everyone gets back and helps out. He might point to Spain and Barcelona as evidence that you don’t need that ballsy, wears-his-heart-on-his-sleeve, sixties throwback type of player, but the thing about those teams is that they don’t play in the Premier League, which is far more competitive than La Liga and the international game, and you are always going to have games where you have to put your body on the line, give a hundred and ten per cent, and so on and so forth.

    Other people will claim that there’s no point signing those kinds of players if you don’t first sort out the coaching side of things, and the evidence seems to suggest that Wenger is not really all that interested in defending. I completely agree with this, and I definitely think something needs to be done to get the whole team defending as a unit when they lose the ball, but I think signing at least one gutsy, would-sweat-blood-for-the-team, would-shave-his-b***s-with-a-rusty-knife … you get the idea … type of player would help with that.

    Anyway, despite all my moaning, I’ve decided to finish on a positive note. This is the first season since 2005 when we’ve gone out early, spent a bit of money, and brought in some genuine quality, as opposed to mediocre players with massive foreheads who were never going to make the grade, or unknown youngsters who were going to be good, but not for another few years. Even if a certain Dutch forward with unusually square shoulders and wobbly arms does leave, it shows, at least, a slight change of direction, a