COMMENT By Emma Sanders
Arsenal must offer Santi Cazorla a new contract because he is too good to be given away for free.
The 32-year-old’s current contract runs out next summer and unless Arsenal seal an extension, he risks leaving the club on a free and he is worth a lot more than that.
Cazorla is one of the club’s best players when fit but he has made just 23 Premier League appearances since the start of 2015 and the club have had to buy new midfielders to replace him.
Mohammed Elneny and Granit Xhaka joined in the summer and have been regular first team members in Cazorla’s absence, alongside Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin.
Cazorla’s quality on the ball and technical excellence puts him above all of those players but Arsenal may be reluctant to offer him an extended contract given his injury-prone nature.
However, an extension is a necessity because if he returns from injury, he could be the difference they need to win the Premier League title.
Arsene Wenger is notoriously loathe to offer anything other than a one-year extension to a player who has blown out more than 30 candles on his birthday cake.
But an exception should be made for Cazorla. The red carpet should be rolled out for this brilliant midfield veteran and a two-year contract placed on the table.
By offering a new deal, they would give Cazorla one final opportunity to make a comeback and if that fails, they would ensure he wouldn’t be leaving on a free.
In other Arsenal news, this is the best possible line-up against West Brom.