‘I will speak to Mikel’ – Santi Cazorla eager to return to Arsenal ‘as coach or sporting director’
Santi Cazorla, a former Arsenal player, intends to return to the club one day to work with ‘one of the finest friends I have in football,’ Mikel Arteta.
Cazorla departed Arsenal in 2018 after suffering a horrific achilles injury that required 10 surgery and left him worried his foot might need to be amputated.
However, the Spaniard returned to the pitch, spending two seasons with Villarreal before joining Qatari side Al Saad, where he is still playing at the age of 37.
Cazorla, who is nearing the conclusion of his playing career, believes he will stay in the game and dreams of returning to north London.
‘Of course I would like to come back,’ Cazorla told The Mail. ‘I have to wait if the club thinks about me, if I can help in something – as a coach or a sporting director.’
Cazorla and Arteta played alongside each other for four years at the Emirates and the Spaniard hopes to reach out to his countryman when he does decide to hang up his boots.
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‘When I have the idea to retire, I will speak with Mikel or with someone in the club,’ he said.
Arsenal head into the World Cup break five points clear at the top of the Premier League after their best ever start to a league campaign. Having seen Arteta’s young side pass every test thrown at them so far, Cazorla is confident Arteta has the mentality needed to guide Arsenal back to the top.
‘They are doing very well, they have very good young players: (Bukayo) Saka, (Gabriel) Martinelli, (Martin) Odegaard. We have an amazing future,’ Cazorla said.
‘It’s normal they needed time, because after (Arsene) Wenger it’s a little bit difficult to try to keep the success. But I think Mikel is the best option for Arsenal: he knows the club, he loves this club and he knows the mentality’.
Cazorla was linked with a return to Arsenal earlier this year but Arteta admitted at the time no backroom role had been discussed.
‘I haven’t discussed anything like that with Santi,’ Arteta said in March. ‘Of course, if you ask anyone in this football club or any supporter about Santi they’ll probably have a smile on their face.
‘I don’t know, he’s still playing, I don’t know what he wants to do but I’m sure it’ll be related to football because I know him well.’