Mikel Arteta has played down internet rumours that suggested Santi Cazorla is being lined up for a coaching role at Arsenal.
Remarkably, given the injury issues he experienced at the tail-end of his time at Emirates Stadium, the Spaniard is still playing competitive football for Qatari side Al Sadd at 37-years-old although it’s looking likely he’ll hang up his boots in the near future.
Arteta and Cazorla played alongside each other for four years under Arsene Wenger and are known to have formed a very close bond but a reunion isn’t on the cards.
“I haven’t discussed anything like that with Santi,” said Arteta ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Crystal Palace.
“Of course, if you ask anybody at this football club or any supporter about Santi, they will have a smile on their faces.
“He’s still playing, I don’t know what he wants to do but I’m sure it will be related to football because I know him well.”
“I spoke with him on my birthday but we didn’t discuss that [joining Arsenal].”
Cazorla left Arsenal in 2018 following a two year battle with an Achilles problem that threatened to end his career. After recovering from eight operations, he rejoined Villarreal on a short-term deal and proved a revelation, even earning a recall to the Spanish national team.
Despite the upturn in fortunes, he’s always lamented not saying a proper farewell to the Arsenal fans. In an interview with the BBC in 2020, he said:
“It was frustrating to not be able to say goodbye to a club who treated me so well. It is something left in my career to say goodbye properly.
“I am eternally grateful to the club and the fans for the way they continue to treat me.”