Tottenham still strong without Bale, says Cazorla

The Welshman is poised to complete a record-breaking €100 million move to Real Madrid, but the Gunners man feels Spurs’ summer spending cannot be ignored by their top-four rivals

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla believes Tottenham are strong enough to qualify for the Champions League despite Gareth Bale’s imminent exit.

The Welshman netted 26 goals last season as Spurs narrowly missed out on a top-four spot on the final day, and now looks set to join La Liga giants Real Madrid in a record-breaking €100 million deal.

Tottenham, though, have anticipated the sale and spent upwards of €106m on seven new faces – including the likes of Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela and Paulinho – and Cazorla expects Bale’s departure to have little effect.

“It is true that Gareth Bale may be departing, but they are still strong, and so we have to match them because it will mean we are fighting for major goals,” Cazorla told the club’s official website.

“Tottenham are always in the running to get into the Champions League, to improve every year, and they have strengthened their squad quite well, bringing in Roberto [Soldado], Paulinho, [Etienne] Capoue, so they are a very strong side.

“Roberto is a very good player, Tottenham have a great signing in him, and he is showing that with goals.”

Bacary Sagna echoed Cazorla’s prediction for Tottenham, highlighting the strength in depth at White Hart Lane, but is confident Arsenal can triumph on Sunday when their rivals come to town.

“Of course [Bale] was really important for their team but they have many other players,” the right-back added.

“Most of them play for their national teams and we know it is not going to be easy but at the same time we believe it is down to us to play our football.

“As I have said before, we can beat anyone. We have very talented players who are young and motivated.

Cazorla scored in the same fixture last season as Arsenal won 5-2 for the second year on the trot, and says the atmosphere at the games was his stand out memory from his debut term.

“The best memory that I have in the Premier League, my best game in the competition, was the derby at home against Tottenham,” he continued.

“It was a very good result for us, I scored a goal and the atmosphere that day was amazing. The return leg was not so good [Arsenal lost 2-1 at White Hart Lane] but overall they are very special games.”

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