Full Name: Santiago Cazorla González
Nickname: Santi Cazorla
Team: Málaga CF
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Birth Date: December 13th, 1984
Birth Place: Llanera, Spain
Height: 5 ft 6 in
Last summer, Villarreal had to take the tough decision of selling Santi Cazorla to Málaga FC. The yellow submarine team was suffering the effects of the financial crisis that is hitting Spain. They needed funds and had to do it.
10 months later, Cazorla led Málaga to his best historical classification and the zenith of playing the Champions League. Villarreal, meanwhile, got relegated.
However, this wasn’t the first time Cazorla left the yellow club as they previously had sold him. They let the midfielder to sign for Huelva for the modest price of 600.000€ in 2006, who led Huelva to successfully finish eighth in the table. Realizing their mistake, Villarreal wanted to take back their player, for twice the money for which he was sold.
But this time was impossible that the player could return to Villarreal again. Cazorla joined Málaga and returned to southern Spain. His most important moment? An injury time spectacular equaliser against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu. Santi finished the season as Malaga’s second highest scorer, with 9 goals in 34 games, and his team as fourth in La Liga table.
Málaga, currently in financial difficulties, still owe Villarreal £3m from Santi’s transfer and he’s one of four players who has not been paid in full and is seeking a move away from the club.
Cazorla mainly plays as an attacking midfielder for Malaga, but he can play on the wings as well, both right or left as he’s ambidextrous and quite fast too. He’s a menace on the wings so he could easily play out wide. I’d still take him as an AM primarily as he’s more than comfortable in the middle. Having a creative player like him that creates his own space all over the field, looking for the ball to come to him, creative player in the midfield would allow Song to sit back a bit and take a more defensive role (he has done it well last season, also, Santi’s defensive contribution is quite good for an attacking midfielder). His close control and passing are brilliant, whether short or long balls. He’s got an exquisite free-kick on him too, one of the best around.
He managed to score 9 goals and got 5 assists last season in the League, very important ones I must say. He’s the kind of key player that can define a team’s season. This is another great thing about him too, and that would benefit Arsenal as they do lack that goal threat from midfield.
Santi can dictate a game from deeper central positions as he did against Real Madrid, and like Iniesta does. After the Barcelona player, he’s the next best attack-minded Spanish midfielder in my opinion. He’s ahead of Mata currently, yes, but one has to bear in mind that Chelsea player is still very young, he will always improve.
His only real weakness seems to be in the air, winning just a 15 percent of his duels last season.
If Arsenal get him, Cazorla-Wilshere-Song will definitely be the best central midfield in the Premier League, and the likes of Toral, Eisfeld and Gnabry will have someone to learn from.
Goals: 9 (8 from Outside box)
Average per game
Key passes: 2.2
(All Stats via WhoScored.com)