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February 2021

Santi Cazorla out for three months. Now what?

By Tony Attwood

Santi is out for three months, during which time he will have an operation and now the news has broken the media is packed with speculation, because speculation is what the media does worst (at least in terms of predicting the future).

In essence there are three possibilities over what to do.

a) Buy a replacement this January

b) Bring Jack Wilshere back from the seaside

c) Utilise the many midfielders that we have in a different formation.

It is interesting that the injury to Santi is seen as such a dramatic loss and in need of such immediate fixing, because his purchase was not really rated as being a solution to Arsenal’s problems at the time.

The summer of 2012 was a transfer window in which Arsenal sold Robin van Persie and Alex Song to Man U and Barcelona respectively.  In return we bought Santi Cazorla – coincidentally for about the same price as we were given for Alex Song.  The media, as I recall it, were not impressed.

But who got the better deal?  Santi has played 129 times for us in the league making Arsenal the club he has played for more than any other.  Having played 138 times for Arsenal, Song played 39 times for Barcelona, 40 times for West Ham and has now made nine appearances for Rubin Kazan.

But these past matters are details, and the fact that no one recognised just how good Santi was (except that is for Mr Wenger) should never be allowed to stop anyone saying what a disaster it is now he won’t be here any more.

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“Whatever happens, it’s clear Arsenal need a plan” shouts the Metro, and their plan is the obvious one: buy a player.   Indeed they say they have identified the various players Mr Wenger “must consider to fill Cazorla’s boots”.   (No compliments to Mr W for having spotted Santi in the first place, you will notice).

They go for Marco Verratti of PSG, Isco from Real Mad, Hakan Calhanoglu from Bayer Leverkusen and Joe Allen of Stoke, all stout and worthy young men I am sure.

Then in an amusing twist they say “If Wenger is keen to avoid any panic-buying, a temporary deal for a player of Isco’s quality could go a big way to filling the void left behind by the injured Cazorla.”   But what would buying a player in January who at best would be replacing Santi for two months be, if not panic buying?

Their next alternative is to bring back Jack although they clearly have no idea if Jack has a contractual get-out clause which would allow him back.  If not you can be sure that Mr W will be blamed for not foreseeing the need for Jack to return.  The Metro proclaims:

“The England international has looked a lot better for playing regularly in the Premier League this season, and on his day he has that Cazorla-like quality to dictate play from deep with his composure on the ball and the quality of his vision.

“If not this January, then Wilshere surely has a future at Arsenal starting next season, with Cazorla’s injury perhaps set to prove a surprise lifeline for the 24-year-old’s Emirates Stadium career.”

So, despite failing to predict any of this summer’s actual transfer dealings for Arsenal, the Metro is telling us once again what Mr Wenger absolutely must do.

The third alternative is to use a combination of players from those we already have:

  • Coquelin
  • Elneny
  • Xhaka
  • Ramsey

That gives us a total of six combinations that could be used:

  • Coquelin / Elneny
  • Coquelin / Xhama
  • Coquelin / Ramsey
  • Elneny / Xhaka
  • Elneny / Ramsey
  • Xhaka / Ramsey

Will one of those combinations really not work?  Personally I think several could work, and buying Elneny first and then Xhaka, is all the proof you need that Mr W does see several combinations that could well do the business.

Of course, I don’t really know, as always.  But I was most interested to find out today that in seven out of the last 10 seasons, the manager who has won the League Cup has been sacked within a year.   That is what the Guardian says anyway.  Those winners were

2007 Chelsea
2008 Tottenham Hotspur
2009 Manchester United
2010 Manchester United
2011 Birmingham City
2012 Liverpool
2013 Swansea City
2014 Manchester City
2015 Chelsea
2016 Manchester City

Anyway, its not all about Santi or the league cup today because the Telegraph tells us that it is time to abolish the rule that says that games that kick off at 3pm should not be on TV.

Which is pretty much a re-run of the Untold Arsenal article from January this year “Destroying the game”.

What is exercising the Telegraph is that because of the 3pm no TV rule people in the UK can’t watch Real Mad play the Tax Dodgers.  Or if you prefer, the child traffickers play the child traffickers.  Which is all a bit odd.

Anyway life is a bit odd, so I guess we should let them get on with it.

20 comments to Santi Cazorla out for three months. Now what?

  • Usama Zaka

    One more thing, El Nenny will miss January to AFCON Cup for the Egypt National Team.

  • Great Player

    Hoping he comes back as quick as poss

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Talking about a combination of midfielders that may work successfully or not at Arsenal’s midfield base, and with Elneny out for West Ham I presume, and will be away for afcon in Jan, thus leaving Le Prof with 3 midfielders base specialist of, LeCoq, Ramsey and Xhaka to be manning our base for sometimes until Elneny returns. We don’t pray for any injury to happen to any of our remaining 3 base players again during this interim absence. But to be fore warned is to be proactively be fore armed.

    If there is no contractual get-out hindrance in Jack Wilshere’s loan deal at Bournemouth, I think it can only be appropriate for Le Prof to call him back to Arsenal to fill the void forced by Santi Cazorla injury absence. And again for will be left to fill void when Elneny becomes unavailable due to his afcon commitment that could last up to 2 weeks depending.

    And finally, does Le Prof even has any reasonable amount of money left in his Arsenal summer transfer kitty which he could merged with his winter transfer kitty that will enabled him to bid successfully for any of, Marco Verratti, Isco & Hakan Calhanoglu for Arsenal if he considered any of them appropriate for Arsenal to have in their midfield base? And will any of the owner clubs of any of these players be willing to sell to us in January window?

  • omgarsenal

    As the Chinese say, a crisis is also an opportunity. We now have the following options;

    1) Use some promising youth players in midfield and maybe one of them will prove to be a Cazorla-like replacement (imho the least rewarding and likely scenario)

    2) As the article stated, use a new combination of players we already have to see if we can find the dynamism and versatility Cazorla offers (the most likely scenario)

    3) Bring in a replacement like-for-like player over the January window (again the least likely scenario)

    4) Finally move a skilled player into that position and give them a trial (Holding, Gabriel, Nacho?) but that is also an unlikely experiment.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I’ve just remembered something. And the thing is, will it be possible for Arsenal to recall Jack Wilshere from Bournemouth before January widow when Arsenal are expected to resuffle their current summer 25 man 1st team squad registered with the FA? Being that Arsenal already have the list of their summer 1st team squad with the FA which included or excluded as the case maybe, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck, and if the duo have been included in their 25 to the FA, then no chance of Jack returning before January. But if the 2 are not officially included, then there is a chance for Jack likely returned anytime soon.

    Let Le Prof please clarify any ambiguity that maybe there in this issue if at all there is any during his press conference tomorrow for our West Ham game.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    @omgarsenal, no disregard to your opinions. But don’t you think you are talking of to take a gamble? Le Prof took a gamble yesternight in the ELC match by fielding and starting 2 youth players of, Holding and Adelaide and it backfired.

    That team Le Prof started for that match was very strong on paper to demolish Southampton but on the field of play looked weak at the Ems as they showed serious lack of urgency and mental strength in their game. Had the Gunners on the field yesternight have a good measure of urgency in their game, they would have successfully blocked all the 2 goals Southampton scored against us by closing down the 2 Saints players who scored the goals. But the Gunners lack of urgency in their defending allowed for such 2 cheap goals to be score against us which they should have blocked.

    I think the rest of that our team on the night save Martinez, Holding & Adelaide still have a good chance to play again for Arsenal in the PL, CL & FA Cup matches but the the trio. Because for the trio, Le Prof may unlikely take another gamble to play them and their youth collegues in another match soon. I think the trio might have blown their chances last night to play for Arsenal anytime soon. Can’t you see they were so disappointing?

    For the remaining 3 titles which Arsenal are still in them, I think Le Prof will stick to his very senior team squad players only and maybe recall Jack Wilshere.

  • pop

    There is something quite strange about seeing a winners list with Tottenham’s name on it.

  • Zedsaunt

    Xhaka, for me, is the key. He has the aptitude to make it work. His aptitude, enhanced in a team playing at pace, with urgency, creates another team.

  • GoingGoingGooner


  • Gord

    Are you sure you spelled that correctly Going?

  • Leon

    The original prognosis was that he’d return within days to play against Middlesbrough.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I like to think that we will be able to manage with the players we have right now and that they’ll be able to step up.

  • ARSENAL 13


    Holding is not a gamble. He had a good game. As did Gibbs. We had individuals having good game all over the pitch, but failed to click as a team. Of all the back four, Jenkinson was off pace yesterday. BUT, you have to remember, he was out for almost a year. And hez only getting back game by game.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oooooooh Santi Cazorlaaaaaa…. gutted for the little man who has such a big influence.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    We also have to remember that he is out of contract in summer and is free to talk to overseas clubs about a transfer in January. I fear that we may not see much more of him at all which will be a terrible shame.

  • para

    Hope Jack gets and is now ready for a place in the team. After getting a few starts on loan (although it was meant to be longer) he may be ready to be himself again on the field.

    A link to Arsenal “Ready or not” – clever video editing of Arsenal.

  • Norman14

    Well, no surprise that Sky are reporting that “Arsenal have the worst injury record, as they have for several seasons. They are making out we are very bad at managing injuries, and had Phil Babb on hand to state that in no uncertain terms.

    Once again, the media invent a bandwagon and immediately jump on it.
    Don’t worry about facts or evidence folks, it doesn’t exist in the UK media!

  • Alex

    Mr Tony

    a) Buy a replacement this January

    b) Bring Jack Wilshere back from the seaside

    c) Utilise the many midfielders that we have in a different formation.

    No disrespect to your opinion but i do believe none of this can come close to what Santi bring in the midfield.

    The little man absence equals the boredome that we see in the midfield.

    No one is there technically gifted that can surpass/retain the ball under pressure like Santi.

    The lots in that midfield are good side passers or long ball one.

    To me Santi is equal to Silva or Modrich.
    Willshere is good for Bourne one game a week club.

    Leave aside politics and speaking purely about footy bring back Fabregas who can slot easily in that department.

    Yes Fabregas can do the job.

  • Zuruvi

    Fabregas would be a good addition.
    Unfortunately, I think the bridges have been burnt.

    Maybe Fabregas could follow Maureen and join ManUre in January or later.

  • Damilare

    Talking of Fabregas, I cant remember the club he plays for now. Really.