Football News

Santi Cazorla: Arsenal ‘friends’ asking about two Villarreal rising stars

By Mohamed Moallim

Arsenal transfer news: Cazorla admits contact him regarding two Villarreal teammates

Published: 14:50, 15 February 2020

Santi Cazorla has revealed former club Arsenal are keeping close tabs on Villarreal teammates Pau Torres and Samuel Chukwueze.

The 35-year-old midfielder enjoyed six seasons at the Emirates Stadium, but rarely featured in his final two campaigns due to a troublesome ankle injury.

Who are Pau Torres and Samuel Chukwueze? Five things to know…

  • Age: Torres (23), Chukwueze (20)
  • Position: Torres (centre-back), Chukwueze (winger)
  • Torres has completed 980 passes in La Liga this season, the most by any Villarreal player.
  • Chukwueze completed 52 dribbles in La Liga last season, the joint-most at Villarreal.
  • Cazorla says ‘friends’ at Arsenal foresee a Premier League future for the pair.

In 2018, Cazorla returned to Villarreal, where his professional career began. There, he has enjoyed a career renaissance, so much so that in 2019, he was selected for the Spanish national team once again.

Near ever-present this season, Cazorla has registered eight goals and created five more for his teammates across 20 league matches.

Villarreal are presently eighth in La Liga, four points below the Champions League spots, but face a battle to retain key talents of their current squad beyond the 2020 summer transfer window.

Cazorla recognises this, and appears to have confirmed Villarreal can expect interest from the Gunners, now managed by compatriot and former teammate Mikel Arteta.

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“Yes, friends from Arsenal especially,” he told Marca. “They ask me about them and think they can make the jump to the Premiership tomorrow.

“It’s good that great teams are interested in young players from Villarreal, but for the moment I tell them to leave them alone here.

“They still have to take steps forward. They both have a great personality, and their feet are on the ground.”

Chukwueze previously revealed he came close to joining Arsenal in 2016. He scored five goals and set up a further two last season in Spain’s top flight.

As for Torres, Arsenal are not his only admirers. Cazorla added: “In Pau’s case, he hears constant talk of [Manchester] City or Barcelona, but he is aware that he has to keep growing as a player and that in the future we will see where he can go.”

Arsenal host Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday.