Arsenal ‘Keen’ to Allow Santi Cazorla Chance to Say Proper Goodbye After 2018 Departure

Former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla may be granted the chance to bid a proper farewell to the club’s fans, some two years after he left the Emirates Stadium.

The diminutive Spaniard saw his career in north London ruined by a catalogue of injury problems, namely a horrifying – and at one time, career threatening – achilles tendon problem.

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Prior to his enforced absence, Cazorla was a huge fan favourite at Arsenal, making 180 appearances over a six-year period, scoring 29 goals. But his final appearance came way back in October 2016 during a Champions League tie with Bulgarian champions Ludogorets, with his achilles injury ruining any potential send off.

Now, football.london report that Arsenal are interested in offering the silky Spaniard a chance to say a proper goodbye to the club; something that Cazorla was unable to do when he departed in the summer of 2018.

The details of how 35-year-old Cazorla – who is now successfully strutting around ​La Liga with Villarreal and is back in Spain’s national team setup – could return is unclear, but it’s thought a pre-season friendly may be the most suitable solution; despite previous remarks from the playmaker that suggested he wanted to wear Arsenal colours once more.

“I don’t know if it’s possible or not, but I want to play one more game for Arsenal before I retire,” Cazorla told ​Goal. “It was a deep regret that I could never have a proper goodbye.

“Arsenal was the biggest club I ever played for. I’m proud that I was an Arsenal player. I’m especially grateful for Arsenal fans who supported me even after I left the club. I wish I can be part of the Gunners family in the future again.”

Cazorla’s return to the very top of the game is all the more remarkable when you consider what he went through during the final two years of his career at Arsenal. A bacterial infection, which ate away 10cm of the tendon itself, caused an unthinkable amount of pain to the Spaniard, often leading to sleepless and tearful nights.

Recalling the harrowing experience in a prior interview with The Guardian, Cazorla said: “I’d got tired – I’d gone through two or three months of operations. I went to Vitoria the next day and that’s when they found the bacteria – two in the tendon and another in the bone.

“They didn’t know how much of the tendon the infection had eaten. Mikel [surgeon Mikel Sanchez] said: ‘I’m going to have to open you up until I find the tendon.’ They told me they’d have to open, open, open, open and when they did, they saw I had lost 10cm.

Santi Cazorla

“I’d been lucky, they said, it could have been more. When he had to rebuild the tendon, he realised how bad a condition the bone was in. He could put his finger in it. It was like Plasticine. That’s even more dangerous.”

Those troubles are now in the rear view mirror, and thanks largely to Cazorla’s agent having a close relationship with head of football relations, Raul Sanllehi, a return to the Emirates in some capacity may be in the offing – be it in a friendly, a testimonial or just visiting as a fan.

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Roy Keane Slams ‘Ridiculous’ Arsenal Celebrations After 4-0 Win Over Newcastle

​Former Manchester United midfielder turned pundit Roy Keane has provided another hilarious piece of insight following Arsenal’s win against Newcastle United on Monday, criticising the players for their “ridiculous” celebrations.

An impressive second-half display from the Gunners helped them to just their second win under Mikel Arteta, with the biggest cheer of the night coming when Alexandre Lacazette broke his goalscoring duck in the last minute of the match.

It was a crucial goal for Arsenal when looking at the bigger picture, hence why it was celebrated so passionately on the pitch and in the stands, but Keane has criticised the response to Lacazette’s 90th-minute goal.

Way over the top,” Keane said on ​Monday Night Football. “When I was watching it, I thought they were 10 points clear in the league the way they were celebrating towards the end.

“Forget Arsenal. Way over-the-top celebrations to beating Newcastle 4-0. Ridiculous.”

Keane’s stereotypically unimpressed reaction to Arsenal’s celebrations unsurprisingly caused quite the stir on social media, but most fans quickly pointed out that the United legend might have overlooked why Lacazette’s goal was so important for the club.

Not only was it just the Frenchman’s sixth goal in the Premier League this season, but it ended a run of nine games across all competitions where Lacazette has failed to find the back of the net.

I am really, really happy because I waited for this moment for a long time,” Lacazette said after ending his goal drought, quoted by Standard Sport. “As well, I am touched because of the way all my team-mates reacted when I scored that goal.

Shkodran Mustafi,Alexandre Lacazette

It means a lot to me and a lot for the spirit we have in the team. This is good.”

It also rounded off an impressive evening for Arsenal as they continue their long-term rebuild under Arteta, with their win against Newcastle just their second since Pep Guardiola’s former right-hand man moved back to north London. 


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

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Arsenal’s 10 Greatest Players of All Time

Healthy debate is the lifeblood of football, and grandiose topics such as Arsenal’s best ever players always stimulate good-natured discussion (*looks at ‘Football Twitter’, puts head under pillow*). Let’s dive in with your suggestions…

Sure, Pascal Cygan would have walked into that Milan side for the early nineties but did he play at Highbury long enough?

Yes, absolutely, Nelson Vivas reimagined what right-back play in Premier League was but isn’t greatness linked to longevity?

Nicolas Bendtner was/is a global icon but did he do it on a wet and windy night in Stoke?

Luckily enough, this list isn’t up to you. It’s up to the objective folk here at 90min.

Even better, there’s plenty of choices. Arsenal Football Club have had quite a few good players and they’ve won quite a lot to boot.

So without further ado, let’s crack on.


Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry

It’s always good to start with the king. Simply put – the greatest player the Premier League has ever seen. A prolific goalscorer with lightning pace, outrageous flair and brilliant interplay. 228 goals, 90 assists.

If God were designing a football player, after what the North Bank witnessed, Arsenal fans would probably say that Henry was the finished article. 


Dennis Bergkamp

Dennis Bergkamp

A polymath-level of footballing intelligence and a touch to make Dimitar Berbatov weep, Dennis Bergkamp revolutionised the Premier League. Along with Cantona, Juninho and the first brigade of quality foreign players, Bergkamp brought a level of technical ability and professionalism not seen before in this country.

A relentless perfectionist, Bergkamp propelled Arsenal to their first Premier League title in 97/98. He won PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year as Arsenal won their second League and Cup double. An 11-year career at the club, an Invincible and a statue outside the ground. Pure poetry in motion.


Liam Brady

Arsenal

Liam Brady or ‘Chippy’ was a player that could have played in any era. Brady dribbled the football like a slaloming Olympic skier and was quite possibly the man for whom the term ‘wand of a left peg’ was coined.

A perfect technique that led to many brilliant strikes, his peach against Spurs gets played before every home game. His only trophy was the 1979 FA final cup against Manchester United, but his seven years in the famous red were not alongside other iconic names.

Such was Brady’s talent, he left London in 1980 and took the famous Juventus number ten shirt in an era when foreign players in Serie A didn’t exist. Oh, and he won two Serie As in his two years there.


Tony Adams

Tony Adams

During Big Tone’s 669 appearances for the club, Adams established himself as the greatest leader that the Gunners have ever had. His back four of the 90s were so exceptional that they became a British institution in themselves (see The Full Monty).

Not only a club captain but a captain of England too, Adams became the torchbearer for English ‘heart’, figuratively ripping off Terry Butcher’s bloody headband and using it as his own armband. His thumping finish against Everton, sumptuously played through by Steve Bould of all people, is a moment all Arsenal fans won’t forget.

Mr Arsenal.


Patrick Vieira

(FILES) Picture taken 21 May 2005 at the

Arsène Wenger’s first signing? A £3m languid and combative French midfielder from AC Milan.

Vieira was the bridge between the old Arsenal and the new Arsenal; ferocious in the tackle but a two-footed technical beast. If Henry and Bergkamp were too godly to comprehend, Vieira was more ‘the meat and two veg’. or ‘truffle and caviar’ if you will. He added a rudimental and necessary element to the side, but one of the highest order.

Don’t listen to me, listen to Roy Keane: “Without doubt I’d put him alongside Zidane, Scholes, Gerrard, and Lampard as one of the very best I’ve ever played with or against, he was that good.”


Robert Pires

Arsenal's Robert Pires (L) runs away fro

Robert Pires was so much more than a pencil goatee. His va-va-vooming created the most terrifying left flank in the history of English Football. With a rampaging Ashley Cole constantly overlapping and a drifting Thierry Henry, their interplay was frightening.

The 2001/02 season was his peak, winning the FWA Player of the Year while suffering a season-ending injury in March. His standout moment was against Aston Villa with a breathtaking lob.

Chasing a long ball from Freddie Ljungberg, Pires knocks the ball past Jlloyd Samuel with the outside of the boot. As the ball is still bouncing, Pires executes a perfectly judged half-volley lob over Peter Schmeichel. Don’t take my word for it, go and watch it.


Ian Wright

Ian Wright,Lee Dixon

Ian Wright joined Arsenal at 28. Let that sink in. 28! In just seven years, Ian Wright became Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer. 185 strikes in 288 appearances.

Boasting cat-like movement and a telepathic understanding of where the goal was, Wright brought goalscoring to a whole new meaning in north London. Imagine if he’d joined the club at 21 – how many he could have got?!

Wright’s charismatic smile, likeable personality, and passion for the club make him an Arsenal treasure that fans must protect at all costs.


Charlie George

Charlie George

A local lad and an Arsenal fan, Charlie George became an Arsenal great with his exploits during the double-winning 1970/71 season. Back when the FA Cup was watched by the nation, George had his iconic moment in the final.

Drawing 1-1 in extra time, George received the ball from John Radford and smashed in a 20-yarder. While the goal was spectacular, it was the celebration that made it seminal, George lying flat on his back with his arms aloft.

Charlie George is so Arsenal through and through, he currently hosts the stadium tours at the Emirates.


Cliff Bastin

Cliff Bastin

Cliff Bastin was the original prolific goalscorer, a crucial cog in the Arsenal side that dominated in the 1930s.

Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal won five League titles and two FA cups during an unprecedented spell of dominance. Bastin was a prodigy, by 19 he’d won a league title, FA Cup and been capped for England, making him the youngest player ever to achieve all three.

Bastin notched 178 goals for Arsenal, a record that would stand for 60 years. The Second World War curtailed his career as he was conscripted at 27 and sadly suffered leg injuries in battle.


Alex James

Alex James

If Cliff Bastin was the pre-war Ian Wright, Alex James was the pre-war Dennis Bergkamp.

Another crucial member of Chapman’s team, James blurred the lines between attack and defence, transitioning the ball to the lethal Bastin, Ted Drake, and David Jack.

The Scot was an assist machine and was vital in the record-setting season of 1933, where the Gooners managed 118 league goals. 


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Who’s on the Plane? England Euro 2020 Squad Power Rankings – February

​Another month done, another month closer to this summer’s European Championship…and another month closer to Gareth Southgate deciding who’ll be with him on his quest to end England’s 54-year wait for a major international trophy.

Yes, the Three Lions’ misery – which Southgate knows pretty well after his Euro ’96 penalty blunder against Germany – continues to rumble on, but this time around, there’s plenty of young talent knocking around to suggest a change of fortunes are on the horizon.

But WHO I hear you bellow from your armchair are England planning to include in their 23-man squad?

Well, that’s a very good question. And one I will attempt to answer, taking the reins from ​Andy Headspeath, by telling you who could be aboard the u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶g̶r̶o̶u̶n̶d̶ plane as it stands…


23. Danny Rose (New Entry)

Danny Rose

“I’ve been given a chance to play week in and week out. I want to play football again – with the Euros in the summer, I want to put myself in window.”

And that’s exactly what Danny Rose is doing at Newcastle – first, coming off the bench in a drab 0-0 draw against Norwich, before starting the 4-0 pumping at Arsenal.

Then, Rose had a ruck with Toon fans on the train back to Tyneside – what other evidence do you need to suggest he MUST be included?

22. Tyrone Mings (New Entry)

Previously on 90min‘s ‘Who’s on the Plane’ series, we picked only three central defenders.

That, in hindsight, was probably an error. 

So to make up for it, we’ve selected Mings – ​a prolific tackler this season – to fill the void, just ahead of Fikayo Tomori, who helpfully has lost his place at Chelsea at just the right moment.

21. Dean Henderson (Up 1)

The third goalkeeping berth (underrated word) in England’s squad has been the talk of the town in, erm, goalkeeping circles for some time now – and it now looks like a race that Dean Henderson will undoubtedly win.

That’s because Hendo is pretty damn good and his only rival for the spot – Tom Heaton – is almost certainly done for the season through injury.

20. John Stones (Down 5)

John Stones

Lord knows what goes through John Stones’ head sometimes, but it’s certainly not thoughts that you want your central defenders to have.

Still, Stones is clinging on to his place for dear life – largely because there isn’t many other quality options available for poor Gareth.

​19. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (-)

The back end of January/start of February hasn’t been particularly inspiring for Oxlade-Chamberlain on a personal level, but he’s still having a whale of a time riding the Liverpool juggernaut wave.

And who doesn’t love having a winners mentality knocking around the dressing room, eh?

18. Declan Rice (Down 6)

Poor old Dec really isn’t having a happy time of late, with West Ham in absolutely abysmal form under the irrepressible David Moyes.

That doesn’t bode well for his England credentials, but there’s no doubting that he’s up to the job – probably needs Ant alongside him, mind you…

17. Nick Pope (-)

In our previous edition of this series, incase we haven’t mentioned it already, we recommended watching Netflix biopic The Two Popes for more info about the Burnley keeper and his identical twin brother.

This point still stands.

16. Danny Ings (Up 5)

Danny Ings

Southampton are more up and down than my childhood yo-yo, but they do have one constant thing going for them – goals being scored by Danny Ings.

DIngs, as we shall now lovingly call him, has 15 Premier League goals to his name this season, and whipped in a pearler against former employers Burnley recently.

But Gareth, for christ sake, don’t put him on the front post when defending corners..

15. Kieran Trippier (Down 1)

Trips hasn’t actually played since we last put pen-to-paper on England’s options, with a groin strain ruling him out of proceedings.

Still, at least he’s done nothing wrong in that time.

14. Jack Grealish (Up 4)

If Jack Grealish isn’t in England’s squad for this European Championship, it will be a crime against footballing humanity.

No, stop thinking of the infamous Daniel Radcliffe card in that alternative game, just concentrate on what Grealish does well for Villa – and that’s lots and lots of things.

13. Tammy Abraham (-)

Goals aren’t going in so regularly for Tammy of late, who remember has a brother called Timmy, but there’s still nothing to suggest that he won’t be a guaranteed a spot.

So, instead, let’s focus on something else, by remembering that his first name is actually Kevin…

12. Harry Winks (Up 4)

Spurs are winning Premier League games once more, proving that José Mourinho has still got it after all.

One of the key ingredients to the revival in north London has been Harry Winks’ form in central midfield. Dynamic, graceful, industrious and beautiful – four simple adjectives that Mourinho has definitely used in press conferences to describe him. 

11. Jordan Pickford (Down 4)

The one thing you need at a major international tournament is stability between the sticks.

Sadly, in Jordan Pickford, England have got the opposite right now – with more mistakes leading to a rather strange outburst in which the Everton stopper had a go at his mounting critics.

Bizarrely, I think I might have come up with the solution: stop making mistakes, Jordan!

10. James Maddison (Up 1)

All we’ve heard over the last month or so is who would be a better fit for Manchester United; James Maddison or Jack Grealish?

But, in reality, we should really be asking, can Gareth Southgate find a way to accommodate both in his England side?

Probably not, but he could try.

9. Ben Chilwell (-)

It’s been another iffy month for Leicester, but not a bad one for Chilwell – who scored during the recent draw with Chelsea.

So, with that in mind, he’s still the reigning, defending and undisputed (thanks to Paul Heyman for this) left-back in this England side.

8. Harry Maguire (-)

Harry Maguire

Good ol’ slabhead scored against Chelsea in ​Manchester United’s recent 2-0 win. That’s good.

Good ol’ slabhead kicked Michy Batshuayi in the nuts during that very same game. That’s bad.

Swings and roundabouts, eh?

7. Marcus Rashford (Down 3)

Crocked, recuperating and twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines, it’s probably been a bit of a boring month for Rashford.

Still, he’s a heavyweight player in this England side and nothing will change that anytime soon.

6. Harry Kane (-)

It’s been a quiet month for Kane, also, with recovery very much the order of the day. The only thing to happen of note?

Son Heung-min is ​now a better player than him for Spurs. Eek.

5. Joe Gomez (Up 5)

Joe Gomez has started Liverpool’s last 11 Premier League games. 

In that time, Liverpool have won those 11 games, kept 10 clean sheets and are 25 points clear at the top of the table.

He must start.

4. Jadon Sancho (Up 1)

There comes a time in some player’s careers where everybody club in the world would love to sign you.

As of right now, Jadon Sancho is that player. Sorry, Borussia Dortmund.

3. Jordan Henderson (-)

Winning trophies and hoisting them above his head is a feeling that Henderson is becoming ever so familiar with at ​Liverpool.

And it’s something he may need to prepare for, with the severity of Kane’s injury still up in the air.

2. Trent Alexander-Arnold (-)

Trent Alexander-Arnold is widely regarded as the best full-back in the world, largely because of his sensational crossing ability and his marauding runs and down the right.

And that assessment, in 90min‘s opinion, is absolutely spot on. What a baller.

1. Raheem Sterling (-)

Raheem Sterling

It’s not been a great end to the month for Raheem Sterling, following Manchester City’s expulsion from the Champions League for the next two years.

But that small, minor problem aside, he remains England’s go-to guy with Kane sitting on the sidelines and must be wrapped in fluffy cotton wool.


On Standby

England’s three goalkeepers for this European Championship look to be dead certainties, but Aaron Ramsdale will still harbour hopes of entering Gareth’s thoughts. 

Fikayo Tomori and Chris Smalling, meanwhile, will still be hopeful of forcing their way into the central defensive setup, while Kyle Walker, Reece James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams will hope for supplementary full-back nods.

Dele Alli

Mason Mount may feel aggrieved to have been knocked down the midfield pecking order, but he’s in good company – Dele Alli and Callum Hudson-Odoi are still on the outside peering in and must do more to get in.

Up top, the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin is an outside bet, while Callum Wilson and Mason Greenwood are also waiting in the wings, should injury ravage the Three Lions.


For more from Toby Cudworth, follow him on Twitter!

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Mattéo Guendouzi’s ‘Heated Row’ With Mikel Arteta Led to Omission From Arsenal Squad

Mattéo Guendouzi had a ‘heated row’ with Mikel Arteta during the club’s training camp in Dubai, leading to his surprise omission from the matchday squad to face Newcastle on Sunday.

Many assumed the French midfielder, who had been named in every one of ​Arsenal’s Premier League matchday squads since the beginning of last season, was thought to have suffered from an injury when he was nowhere to be seen on the team sheet, but Arteta explained he was left out for ‘tactical reasons’.

While his serious tone suggested there may have been more to the situation than meets the eye, it was clear the Gunners didn’t miss the 20-year-old too badly. With Dani Ceballos returning in his stead, they trounced Newcastle with a confidence-boosting 4-0 victory, somewhat justifying a bold decision to leave out one of the club’s most coveted assets. 

And in a report that gives us a better insight than Arteta’s brief explanation, ​The Telegraph now say that there was a heated argument between the player and the coach which began on the training pitch in Dubai and continued into the team hotel later that day. 

At the centre of the row is said to be Guendouzi’s training performances, with the midfielder not meeting the standards demanded by Arteta, who was not afraid to let him know he had fallen short. 

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After the match, Arteta (as quoted by the Mirror) pointed to Ceballos as an example of what he expects on the training pitch. 

“Dani Ceballos is a good example,” Arteta said of the ​Real Madrid loanee in the wake of the match. “He was injured and when he started to train I didn’t think he was fit enough.

“He completely changed his behaviour and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch.”


For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!

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