Malaga general director Vicente Casado has admitted that Arsenal paid much more than they could have when acquiring Santi Cazorla in the summer of 2012.
The Southern La Liga outfit went on a mad spending spree in the two years leading up to 2012 following a successful takeover of the club by sheikh Abdullah ben Nasser Al Thani.
Santi Cazorla, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Jeremy Toulalan and Martin Demichelis were amongst the big names who joined, as well as former Arsenal star Julio Baptista.
The initial promise of sustained Champions League football and trophy challenges, however, quickly turned sour when the club couldn’t escape a UEFA ban and Spanish international Cazorla was one of the first to be sacrificed with a departure.
The 29-year-old joined the Gunners for a reported £16.5 million fee, though speaking at a Malaga forum gathering yesterday, Vicente Casado has admitted his club would have been forced to accept a much smaller fee.
“If we hadn’t have sold Cazorla, we would have been in the second division. The €15 million or so has been spoken of a lot, also by Pellegrini, but if an offer of €5 million had arrived we would have been forced to accept. We couldn’t do anything else.” He said, quoted by the Spanish publication AS.
Since joining the North Londoners, Cazorla has gone on to represent the club 99 times in all competitions, scoring 20 goals.
He is in line to make his 100th appearance in the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League’s Saturday evening clash at the Emirates.