Atletico Madrid make Santi Cazorla enquiry
By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Atletico Madrid have made an enquiry for Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla, Football Insider sources understand.
The Spanish club are targeting Cazorla after selling Arda Turan to Barcelona in a £24million deal.
Football Insider sources have learned that Arsenal have told Atletico they value the Spain international at £20million and would only be interested in a sale if their asking price is met and they can secure a replacement.
Arsene Wenger is weighing up whether to make a major midfield signing this summer after pulling out of the race to sign Morgan Schneiderlin, who is closing in on a move to Manchester United.
The Arsenal boss will put his squad through their paces in pre-season before assessing the feasibility of signing a proven midfielder. Any deal is not expected to take place until later in the transfer window.
Wenger could sanction a shock sale of Cazorla if one of his targets becomes available, with Atletico keen on bringing the 30-year-old back to his homeland.
Barcelona announced on Monday that they have bought Turan from their rivals, although the deal includes an option for the Turkey international to return to Atletico if his signing is not ratified by the winner of the upcoming Barcelona presidential elections.
Diego Simeone’s team want a proven playmaker to replace Turan and have identified Cazorla as a possible replacement. Cazorla fits the bill for Simeone as a midfielder with a strong track record and experience of La Liga.
But Atletico will need to pay upwards of £15million to bring the Spaniard back to his homeland after he played some of the best football of his career for Arsenal in a central midfield role in the second half of last season.
Football Insider revealed last month that Cazorla could be a shock departure from Emirates Stadium this summer if an interested club offers between £15million and £20million.
The 30-year-old has two years remaining on the contract he signed 12 months ago and has attracted interest from Atletico in recent summers.
Cazorla has emerged as one of those who could leave despite being one of Arsenal’s outstanding players in their renaissance in the second half of last season.
The Spain international thrived in a new deep-lying central midfield role alongside Francis Coquelin and was a key figure as Wenger’s side sealed a third-placed Premier League finish and clinched their second consecutive FA Cup triumph.
The Spanish maestro is also a big fans’ favourite, with his name usually one of the first sung by the supporters at away matches.
He has been a virtual ever-present for Arsenal since joining from Malaga in the summer of 2012, making 147 appearances for the London club and scoring 27 goals.