According to reports, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had been keeping tabs on midfielder Santi Cazorla for quite some time, but was not really sure whether he would be able to survive physically in the Premier League or not. The French boss admitted that he had doubts about the Spanish international, prior to bringing him to the Emirates.
The former Malaga man moved to north London in the summer of 2012 for a fee of £15m and later won the club’s ‘player of the season award’, after just 10 months. At the moment, the 30-year-old midfielder is an essential part of Wenger’s side and a favourite among the crowd.
However, Wenger told the club’s official website, “You could question whether he was physically equipped to play in the tough Premier League. It’s true that I had that doubt, but his quality was so big that I was ready to take that gamble. His technical quality, his right foot, left foot, his availability, his vision and the quality of his passing made me go for it. I thought, ‘If there is a team in the Premier League where he has a chance to make it, it’s with us.’ That’s why I went for it.”
The Gunners’ boss further revealed it was former Arsenal superstar Robert Pires who pointed out the Spaniard. He added, “I think I first saw him when he was about 20 or 21. He was not a regular player, but in some games we watched you could see he had talent. After that, Robert Pires moved to Villarreal and played with him. Sometimes I asked Robert, ‘Are there any good players there?’ He said to me straight away, ‘Cazorla is a fantastic player’. So Robert was a scout for me! He at least confirmed the impression I already had about Santi.”