Former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has revealed his desire to return to the Premier League club in order to properly say goodbye.
Cazorla joined Arsenal in 2012 from Malaga and would spent six years at the club before leaving for Villarreal on a free transfer in 2018.
The Spaniard played his way into Arsenal fans’ hearts with fine performances in midfield, capable to create with both feet, in addition to his general positivity.
Will Cazorla return to Arsenal? Five things to know…
- Santi Cazorla spent six years at Arsenal between 2012 and 2018.
- He played 180 times, scoring 29 goals and recording 45 assists.
- But his spell was hampered by injury problems, that saw his last appearance come in October 2016.
- Now at Villarreal, Cazorla is thriving again and has been directly involved in nine La Liga goals this season.
- But Cazorla has admitted his desire to return to Arsenal one day, for a “proper goodbye”.
However, the end of Cazorla’s Arsenal spell was severely hampered by injury problems, with the Spaniard not featuring at all between October, 19 2016 and his departure from the Emirates in 2018.
Signing for Villarreal, Cazorla enjoyed a decent first full season back in football in 2018/19, scoring four goals and recording 10 assists in 35 La Liga games. Only Lionel Messi and Pablo Sarabia (13) recorded more assists than Cazorla in the Spanish top flight.
And Cazorla has started the 2019/20 campaign just as strong, already recording four assists in 13 games, while also adding five goals – form that has earned him a recall to the Spanish national team.
But despite his rebirth at Villarreal, Cazorla has admitted he does miss everything about Arsenal, dreaming of a return.
“When you are at a big club like Arsenal, sometimes you don’t realise what it means to be there until you are gone,” he told the Independent.
“I never got to say a proper goodbye. It was the biggest team I played for in my career and I miss everything about Arsenal.
“I don’t know what my legacy is there, you would have to ask the fans, but I want to say thank you to them all. I would like to play at the Emirates one last time before I retire.
“I don’t know what I will do afterwards – maybe a coach, maybe a sporting director – but I would love to go back to Arsenal. I lived in London for six years. My son loved it there.
“In the future, we will see if I have the possibility.”
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Cazorla has moved on from injury woes
While many Arsenal fans will remember Cazorla for his footballing ability and what he brought to the club, the Spaniard’s spell in London will always come with the added baggage of his injury troubles.
However, Cazorla insists he has moved past his injuries and is purely focused on proving himself at the top level once more – despite his family’s worries.
“It’s gone now,” he added. “I never think about the injury. I don’t have any pain. Of course, the way I look at football has changed [because of it].
“It’s completely different, but football is better now. I enjoy it all more; the atmosphere in the stadium; training every day. It was difficult to imagine playing at the top-level and for Spain again, but you never know what’s going to happen.
“My family still sometimes get scared when they watch me, but I’m well now. That’s the most important thing. Now it’s about the present.”