They say that good things come in small packages. In the case of Santi Cazorla, he may prove to be the best transfer signing of the summer, and a much-needed offensive-minded maestro at midfield for the Arsenal Gunners.
Cazorla, a 5’6″, 140-pound midfielder, would come to North London from La Liga club, Malaga, in the summer transfer window for a fee of £15 million ($23.7 million) and would score his first goal as a Gunner in a 2-0 victory over Liverpool at Anfield.
During his first three games as a Gunner, Cazorla has facilitated the Arsenal attack from the midfield a la fellow Spanish compatriot Andres Ineista of F.C. Barcelona. While Cazorla is no Iniesta, his up-tempo pace and timely passing are very similar to that of Iniesta and are a complement to Arsenal’s traditional wide-open and attacking style of play.
Cazorla is versatile and creative enough to play on the wing opposite strikers Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, or Gervinho. Due his ability to shoot, pass, dribble, and play either flank, Cazorla is a perfect fit for Arsenal and has the upside to be a world-class midfielder in Arsene Wenger’s 4-1-2-3 formation.
If there is one weakness that Cazorla could improve, it’s is his inability to score goals.
In 2006, Cazorla would go goalless and leave Villarreal F.C. for Recreativo de Huelva before returning to the Yellow Submarines in 2007. Despite helping lead Spain to a Euro 2008 title, Cazorla has never scored in double figures in club play, as he would score a career-high nine goals for Malaga during the 2011-12 season.
At Arsenal, Cazorla is in a more liberal and free-flowing environment that will utilize his creativity and aggressive style of play.
While he may not be the big-name marquee transfer signing like fellow new Gunners Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, Cazorla may turn out to be the engine and vital cog in the Gunner’s offense in 2012-13.
Robert D. Cobb is the NBA Network Manager for Rant Media Network, Featured Writer of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Featured Columnist for the Cleveland Browns and Arsenal Gunners.
In addition to covering the NBA, I also cover MLB, NFL, NHL and Champions League soccer news, rumors and opinions, please follow me on Twitter at@RobertCobb_76