Is Arsenal Target Santi Cazorla A €20 Million Man?

Arsenal appear to be on the verge of signing Malaga winger Santi Cazorla. Meanwhile, Arsenal masses are hyping up their potential signing to the maximum, which is par for the course.

Being the curmudgeon that I am I’m obviously a little skeptical of this signing, which is also par for the course as far as my view on Arsenal signings go. I’ve done some research that doesn’t include YouTube videos that generally only show a player performing at their best and took a look at some of the numbers ‘ol Santiago has put up over the past few seasons. For the numbers he has put up and the domestic awards he has won, Arsenal are paying a pretty hefty price for a pretty mediocre player. That is if you are to believe the €20 million price tag that is being thrown around. So I’ve pitted him against the last two notable Spanish imports to the Premier League, Juan Mata & David Silva, to see how he stacks up and whether he really could be the superstar Arsenal think he can be or whether Arsenal are falling for the “Well, he’s Spanish so he has to be good” syndrome.

Through the power of Microsoft Word, I bring you a table to compare the stats for yourself:

David Silva6 Goals, 15 Assists4 Goals, 7 Assists8 Goals, 7 Assists4 Goals, 7 Assists*
Juan Mata6 Goals, 13 Assists8 Goals, 12 Assists9 Goals, 4 Assists11 Goals, 13 Assists
Santi Cazorla9 Goals, 5 Assists5 Goals, 10 Assists5 Goals, 2 Assists*8 Goals, 5 Assists

*Player Missed significant time due to Injury

Now I’m aware that goals and assists aren’t everything but they’re a pretty good indicator of how a player, especially an attacker, does during a league campaign. Despite being older than both Silva and Mata, Cazorla has only been able to outperform Silva once while he was fully fit and that was Silva’s first season in the Premier League. It can also be noted that Silva and Mata both played for Valencia until the latter’s departure in 2010, but even then both players were able to put up top 25 numbers in regards to goals and/or assists. While both Mata and Silva are regularly in the rop 25 in regards to assists (in the case of Mata he’s only finished outside the Top 5 once in this span) Cazorla has only achieved that status once, in ’10-’11. Silva’s numbers may not be spectacular, but there is at least some consistency in them, which should be paramount when you’re going to be spending the sort of cash that Arsenal are looking to pony up.

Obviously numbers aren’t everything when it comes to evaluating players. Looking at the teams the players have been on, since 2008 the lowest any one of these men have finished was 7th in the league and that was Cazorla’s Villareal side in ’09-‘10. Looking in the trophy cabinets, Silva and Mata both have multiple cup successes (including a Copa Del Rey at Valencia) while I’m sure Cazorla has his Intertoto Cup medal displayed somewhere prominent in his house. For arguments sake, I know it’s tough to win silverware in La Liga with Madrid and Barcelona dominating everything, which makes it even more impressive that Mata & Silva were able to win the Copa.

To be clear, I’m not trying to discredit Cazorla as a footballer. He’s a fine player that has some potential to make it in the Premier League if you follow the trend that has been set by players like Silva and Mata. But the fact that Arsenal are looking to pay in the neighborhood of €20 Million for this guy is absolutely absurd. Granted Manchester City and Chelsea paid more for Silva and Mata, but those guys were 24 and 23 respectively when they came into the Premier League, with huge potential to grow and make those transfer fees worth it (which it could be argued they almost already have).

Cazorla is 27 and depending on who you ask is either in or just entering his prime as a player. If I’m shelling out that kind of money, I’m expecting double what I’ve seen from him up to this point. Cazorla has never scored double digit goals in a season and has only gone into double digits in assists once. Say what you want about his play and how he can fit into Arsene Wengers system, when you’re paying that much money you should be buying a star, not a nice player who just fits in. I have to ask, is this what player evaluations are coming to? Is €20 million worth, say, 7 goals and 6 assists a season? When Cazorla comes into the Premier League he’s not even going to be one of the top 25 players in the league. He may not even be in the top 50.

If your best season before entering your prime is barely 10 assists and only 5 goals, it is almost unfathomable that those numbers are going to sky rocket and all the sudden turn you into a world beater. What is happening to Arsenal is that they’re buying a Spanish player who barely contributed in the Euros and who was already overpaid for once. This is a recouping money maneuver for Malaga and Arsenal seems more than happy to help them do this. I do wish Mr. Cazorla luck in the Premier League next season, lord knows it’s not his fault that Arsenal are putting that price tag next to his name. Hopefully for him he is known as “Santi Cazorla, the guy who finally won Arsenal the Carling Cup” and not “Santi Cazorla, that guy who cost us €20 million.”

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