Friday, April 19, 2024

Arsenal to raid Villarreal for Chukwueze, others

Santi Cazorla has revealed discussions have taken place with former club Arsenal over his Villarreal team-mates Pau Torres and Samuel Chukwueze, with Mikel Arteta preparing for a big summer in the transfer market.

Torres, 23, and Chukwueze, 20, have attracted interest from a host of European clubs, and Arsenal have sought to get a jump on their rivals by talking with Cazorla, who spent six years with the Gunners.

Arteta is keen on bolstering his squad for next season, with a centre half particularly high up on his shopping list. Spaniard Torres has been at the heart of Villareal’s defence this season, making 22 appearances in all competitions.

Meanwhile, Chukwueze has been identified as an option on the wing with the Nigerian star netting four goals and four assists in 26 appearances this season.

Cazorla, 35, said that North London chiefs feel the pair are ready-made for the Premier League.

“They ask me about them and think they can make the jump to the Premiership tomorrow. It’s good that great teams are interested in young players from Villarreal, but for the moment I tell them to leave them alone here.

“They still have to take steps forward. They both have a great personality, and their feet are on the ground.

“In Pau’s case he hears constant talk of [Manchester] City or Barcelona, but he is aware that he has to keep growing as a player and that in the future we will see where he can go.”

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Cazorla has also clarified his long term future, with the 35-year-old entering the twilight of his career. Since returning to Villarreal, the Spaniard has been in magnificent form, earning himself a recall to the Spanish national team.

“I never plan anything long-term, let alone at 35 years of age. I will finish the season and see what my body tells me because every day I wake up the sensations are different.

“I always said that I was returning here to play at my best level and when I see that I am not at 80% I will step aside and give way to younger players.”

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