Signing Santi Cazorla for Arsenal was a gamble, says Arsene Wenger

The manager admits he sought out the advice of former midfielder Robert Pires, who had played with the Spaniard at Villarreal.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that signing Santi Cazorla was a calculated risk.

The Spanish midfielder joined the club from Malaga in the summer of 2012, and has been a bit hit from the off, becoming an important creative force in the Gunners midfield.

Wenger, though, says the move was a gamble as he wasn’t convinced Cazorla would adapt to English football, but took the plunge in the believe that his undoubted quality would shine through in the Premier League.

“You could question whether he was physically equipped to play in the tough Premier League,” the manager told

“It's true that I had that doubt, but his quality was so big that I was ready to take that gamble. His technical quality, his right foot, left foot, his availability, his vision and the quality of his passing made me go for it.”

Robert Pires played the role of scout for Wenger 

The Arsenal boss has also admitted that he sought the advice of former winger Robert Pires before making a move for Cazorla.

Wenger had been tracking the Spaniard for some time and was impressed by what he saw, but had failed to make a move given his reservations about how he might adapt to English football.

That led to him seeking out Pires, who had played with Cazorla at Villarreal, and the Frenchman played the role of scout for his old manager, offering a glowing recommendation.

“I think I first saw him when he was about 20 or 21,” he said.

“In some games we watched you could see he had talent. After that Robert Pires moved to Villarreal and played with him. Sometimes I asked Robert, ‘Are there any good players there?’. He said to me straight away, ‘Cazorla is a fantastic player’. So Robert was a scout for me!”

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch