Arsenal complete signing of Spain international Santi Cazorla from Malaga

 

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The Independent Football

Santi Cazorla outlined his desire to end Arsenal's trophy drought after becoming the latest high-profile recruit at the Emirates Stadium.

Cazorla today joined the Gunners on a long-term contract from financially-stricken Spanish club Malaga for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £16million.

An attacking midfielder also adept at playing on either wing, the 27-year-old Spanish international is an impressive addition to a squad already strengthened by the recent arrival of strikers Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.

Seven years have passed since Arsenal lifted any silverware, but Cazorla believes fortunes will change following the flurry of transfer activity in north London

"There's a very good squad here and we want to fight for titles and win titles," he told the Arsenal Player website.

"The club has made a big step to sign players to have a better team and meet the expectations of the fans.

"I'm very happy to be here, Arsenal are a huge club. I hope to win trophies here, that is what I want."

Cazorla has amassed 45 caps for Spain and was a member of the squads that won the European Championships in 2008 and this year.

Full name Santiago Cazorla Gonzalez, he was an influential figure in Malaga's fourth-place finish in La Liga last season when the club qualified for the Champions League for the first time.

Arsenal, who have been over-reliant on Robin van Persie for goals, will hope he eases the scoring burden on their forwards after he struck nine times in the league last term.

Cazorla consulted former Gunners Robert Pires and Cesc Fabregas over the transfer and was encouraged by what he heard.

"Robert played with me at Villarreal. He knew about the rumours of me coming here and always encouraged me to sign," he said.

"He told me it was a very good club and I was going to enjoy London, the city and the move.

"The same with Cesc Fabregas. He said this was a big club and that I was going to be very happy here, he said I would adapt easily. And I can feel that."

Cazorla, the 2007 Spanish Player of the year, joined Malaga in 2011 following two stints with Villarreal.

"Santi has good experience at both club and international level and is a great signing for us," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.

"He has good pace, is technically gifted and will be a huge asset to us."

Arsenal have confirmed that Cazorla has already linked up with his new-team-mates after being given permission by Malaga to join their pre-season training camp in Germany.

His arrival and the previous capture of Podolski and Giroud continues the Gunners' promising summer in the transfer window.

Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin remains a target for Wenger after the 23-year-old was told he could leave Real Madrid on loan, as does France youth international M'Baye Niang of Caen.

Reports over the weekend stated that Arsenal's transfer activity may have persuaded Persie to stay, but his future remains shrouded in doubt.

To date Van Persie has refused to extend his contract, which expires next summer, with Manchester United and Juventus leading the chase after Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini admitted it is unlikely he will sign the Holland marksman.

Potentially making room for the influx of new arrivals in north London is Andrey Arshavin with Galatasaray linked with a move for the Russian playmaker.

Santi Cazorla factfile

1984: Born in Llanera, Spain, December 13.

1998: Begins youth career with local club Real Oviedo.

2002: Joins Villarreal and quickly impresses for the club's B team.

2003: November 30 - Makes senior Villarreal debut as a substitute in 1-0 win against Deportivo La Coruna.

2005: Scores four goals as Villarreal reach the quarter-finals of Uefa Cup. Makes 29 league appearances as Villarreal finish third in La Liga.

2006: Makes 23 league appearances as Villarreal finish seventh in La Liga. Transfers to Recreativo Huelva at the end of the season.

2007: Impresses as Recreativo finish eighth in the league, leading Villarreal to exercise a clause in his contract to bring the winger back to El Madrigal.

2008: Repays Villarreal's faith with an impressive campaign as the Yellow Submarine finish the season as runners-up to Real Madrid.

May 17 - Is further rewarded for his strong season by being handed his first call-up to the Spanish national team ahead of Euro 2008.

May 31 - Makes Spain debut in a 2-1 win over Peru.

June 29 - Having featured regularly on Spain's run to the final of Euro 2008, Cazorla appears as a substitute as Spain secure the trophy with a 1-0 victory against Germany.

November 19 - Scores first international goal in a friendly win against Chile.

2010: After a domestic season beset by injury, Cazorla misses out in a place in the Spain squad for the World Cup in South Africa.

2011: Cazorla's return to fitness gives way to a fine 2010/11 campaign as Villarreal finish fourth in La Liga.

July 26 - Leaves Villarreal to join Malaga in a 21million euro deal.

2012: Scores nine times in 34 league appearance as Malaga finish fourth in La Liga.

June - Makes two substitute appearances for Spain as they defend their European Championship crown in Poland and Ukraine.

August 7 - Moves to Arsenal from Malaga on a "long-term contract".

PA

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