Each passing transfer window at Emirates Stadium brings with it a fresh round of speculation regarding playmaking talent on its way to Arsenal.
If you believe what you hear, then Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus could be a top target for Arsene Wenger in January.
It is, however, when looking at the squad already at Wenger’s disposal that you start to wonder why so much emphasis is being placed on creative influences.
Arsenal already have Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky at their disposal - how many diminutive, fleet-footed ball players does one club need?
It is when delving a little deeper, though, that you gain a greater understanding as to why Wenger continues to beat the same recruitment drum.
Ozil has struggled to match the standards he set at Real Madrid, Rosicky is not getting any younger, Sanchez is still new to Premier League football and Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott have all spent lengthy spells on the sidelines in recent times.
Then there is Cazorla.
Might the clock be ticking on his time in North London, with Arsenal ready to move the Spaniard on in order to free up space for another fresh face?
You could not blame Wenger if that thought has crossed his mind, with Opta statistics showing that Cazorla’s powers – which appeared almost magical during his debut season with the Gunners – have started to wane.
|Season||Goal Assist||Goals||Total Contest||Accurate Pass||Fwd Pass||Total Scoring Att||Appearances||Mins Played|
Since bursting onto the scene in 2012/13, on the back of European Championship success with Spain, Cazorla has suffered a steady decline in key areas for midfield schemers.
His numbers have dropped across the board, and appear to be in danger of doing so again in successive seasons.
He is not scoring or creating as many goals, is not firing in as many shots and – perhaps most worrying of all – is not getting on the ball as often.
It can, of course, be argued that there are now more shoulders to carry the burden at Arsenal, with there no longer the need to put as much of their possession through Cazorla as there was a couple of years ago.
Wenger, though, is a wily old coach who is unlikely to let such dips pass him by, and he will be demanding an improvement from a player who retains match-altering ability and one who needs to start justifying the contract extension put to him in March.