Arsenal could be set to sign Spain winger Santi Cazorla from financially-troubled Malaga, with a fee of around €20 million thought likely to be enough to bring him to the Emirates.
Cazorla, 27, was a target for Arsenal last summer, but Malaga’s worsening financial situation makes a move increasingly likely despite the Spanish club’s attempts to discourage suitors by stressing the €45 million buy-out clause in his contract.
The winger is reported to have told Malaga that he wishes to leave and informed Arsenal that he would like to move to North London.
Talks between the clubs are reported to have taken place against a backdrop of increasing financial pressure on Malaga, who have been reported to Spain’s Footballers’ Association (AFE) by four players, including Cazorla, for non-payment of wages.
Under rules introduced in April, the club has until July 25 to respond to the claims and until the end of the month to reach an agreement with the players in question. Failure to do so could see them relegated and thrown out of the Champions League.
Cazorla joined Malaga from Villarreal in a €19 million deal last summer but, after a season hit by financial issues including the non-payment of wages and bonuses, he has voiced a desire to leave. Villarreal claim they are still owed money on his transfer fee.
Malaga may need to sell him because – unless the club’s Qatari owners provide a cash injection – the transfer fee brought in would represent the quickest way of settling the debts. While the debts are outstanding, the club is allowed to sell but not sign players.
Cazorla, Joris Mathijsen, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Salomon Rondon all threatened to make a formal complaint against Malaga during talks with the AFE earlier this month. The association said all four were still owed an “important” amount of money.
Last week, Cazorla was linked with a move to Tottenham, with reports suggesting that White Hart Lane coach Andre Villas-Boas saw him as a replacement for Luka Modric if the playmaker eventually moves to Real Madrid in what has become one of the summer’s more drawn-out sagas.
Spurs are believed to have been monitoring the uncertain situation at Malaga, and could yet table a £15 million offer for the player, who scored nine league goals last season.
- Tottenham Hotspur: Malaga chief vows to keep Cazorla (clubcall.com)
- Arsenal Plot Move for £18m Spanish International Wing Wizard Santi Cazorla (caughtoffside.com)
- Real Madrid launching bid for Malaga star pair Isco, Santi Cazorla (tribalfootball.com)