Liverpool snubbed chance to sign Arsenal star Santi Cazorla years ago
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has revealed he could have signed the Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla when he was the manager of Liverpool. Back then Santi Cazorla uised to play for Villareal and was rated as one of the best prospects from Spain.
In due time Santi Cazorla moved to the big-spending Malaga in 2011, but his stay was short-lived as the Spanish club was forced to sell the playmaker for a cut-price to Arsenal in the summers of 2012.
Santi Cazorla has been in superb form for Arsenal ever since he landed in England. The 28-year-old Spain international currently averages at a goal in every three Premier League games for Arsenal.
Rafael Benitez claims he is not surprised by the success Santi Cazorla has shown with Arsenal. The former Anfield boss admitted Liverpool were once on the brink of signing him a couple of years back.
“We knew about him before,” Rafael Benitez said. “He has a good relationship with one of my ex-players. He’s a good player. He was playing for Villareal. The chairman of Villareal wanted to keep the team together and he was quite complicated when they were doing well.
“It was more complicated when they had problems. He didn’t want to lose his best players. We knew he was a good player but to come to England and settle down is not just the quality of the player.
“In the case of Santi Cazorla – he’s doing well in a good team with a good manager. If you move him to another team, maybe he can do the same.”
It is surprising to note that only Arsenal were interested in Santi Cazorla given that the midfielder has been in superb form in the Premier League. What’s more surprising is the low price on Santi Cazorla.
“I think the price was 16million euros,” Rafael Benitez continued. “It depends on the kind of players you are looking for. I need a player in this position. He’s the right position and has quality. You know the player but you can’t bring in that position. In this team, we’ve got enough.”
Rafael Benitez revealed that Liverpool could have brought Santi Cazorla to the Merseyside if they’d had enough funds to afford him. Rafael Benitez claims he insisted on accumulating funds for the transfer, but the risk was too high.
“It was impossible because the money could be a big risk in terms of the money you had to spend for a player who was playing as a winger,” Rafael Benitez explained.
“He wasn’t playing between the lines or a second striker. We knew he could be a great player but his position was one-side or the other side. We knew the player was expensive and we couldn’t afford him.”