Wenger believes in Santi as he bids €20m
SOCCER:SPAIN winger Santi Cazorla has told Arsenal he is prepared to leave Malaga to join them. Arsene Wenger is keen to sign Cazorla, whom he monitored last summer and he is hopeful an offer of €20 million can close the deal.
Negotiations have taken place between the clubs and although Malaga’s initial response was to point to Cazorla’s €45 million buy-out clause, the Spanish club’s worrying financial situation, which could see them relegated if they do not pay outstanding debts, might force them to sell.
Arsenal’s summer business has been overshadowed by the Robin van Persie saga, with the captain intent on leaving the Emirates Stadium. Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus have made bids, which have been rejected by Arsenal.
Juventus have been back in contact with Arsenal and they have indicated they will pay close to the €25 million asking price while they could also offer Van Persie a contract worth €240,000 a week after tax.
Arsenal, if pushed, would prefer to sell to an overseas club but are preparing for an improved offer from United. Both Manchester clubs have so far offered about €15 million.
Wenger has already signed strikers Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud and the addition of Cazorla would give him another attacking option.
He is expected to sell Andrey Arshavin, with clubs in the Middle East having expressed an interest, but he would still have Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho in wide areas, although he has experimented with the latter through the middle in pre-season training.
Cazorla wants to leave Malaga, the club he joined for €19 million last summer from Villarreal, after wages went unpaid during the campaign and promises were broken.
The 27-year-old has told Malaga of his intention to depart and he has also spoken to Arsenal to tell them he is keen on joining them.
Malaga may facilitate the move but the power vacuum and inertia at the club means the future is uncertain. If Malaga’s Qatari owner, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani, does not inject more money into the club, the sale of Cazorla would represent the swiftest way of the Spanish club covering their debts.
If Malaga do not settle those debts by July 31st they face relegation to Second Division B and the loss of their Uefa licence and Champions League participation.
Considering the wealth of the owners and the more than €150 million poured into the club over the past two years, Malaga’s inertia is baffling.
Cazorla is among four players, alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy, Salomon Rondon and Joris Mathijsen, who threatened to make a formal complaint against Malaga during a meeting with the president of the Spanish players’ union, the AFE, Jose Luis Rubiales, on July 13th.
After the meeting, Rubiales insisted an “important” amount of money was still owed to some players but that others had been paid in full.
Meanwhile, the Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner is in talks with Galatasaray.
Tim Cahill is poised to end his eight-year spell with Everton by joining Thierry Henry at New York Red Bulls in a €1.3 million transfer. The Australia international has two years remaining on his contract at Goodison Park but his manager David Moyes will not stand in the way of a lucrative move abroad.
Cahill is likely to be accompanied out of Everton this week by Joseph Yobo, with the Nigeria international defender close to joining Fenerbahce for €2.5 million and the proceeds from both deals should enable Moyes to re-sign Steven Pienaar on a permanent basis from Tottenham.