Another day, another day of transfer news, leaking out slowly like air from a balloon. Or something like that. As some players begin to (possibly) move on their way out of the club, Santi Cazorla and Nuri Sahin appear to be continuing their snail's-pace march in.
In an appearance on ESPN Soccernet's Press Pass, two of my favorite continental football journalists, Sid Lowe (who's been mentioned on this blog more lately than some of our players) and Raphael Honigstein (making a triumphant return after the Podolski saga) offered their opinions and insight on the two players and whether they'll ever actually move to Arsenal.
NOTE: The relevant section is from about 6:10 in the linked video to about 9:35. Don't listen after that unless you want to hear Steve Nicol say a few tremendously stupid things. You've been warned.
Honigstein spoke about Sahin, saying that his future is in a loan move and that the move is "very, very close." Evidently a few options came up in the winter but neither player nor club wished to pursue; now, all involved seem to think it's the best course of action. According to someone close to the player (one of my favorite sources, really), the deal is in place. There is, however, a hold-up: Sahin and his agent want an option for Arsenal to buy at the end of the loan for a fixed price, while Honigstein says that Madrid "don't want to lose him." It's unclear at this point whether this is something Arsenal are actively pushing or if they're just waiting on Madrid and Sahin's people to sort it out.
On Cazorla, the big new bit of news is that according to Lowe, a firm was in talks to buy Malaga from its present owners, but may have fallen through (or never existed). Either way, the firm now claims that they are not trying to buy the club. Either way, the player and arsenal have agreed to the outline of a contract and await Malaga's consent. Lowe says that the club faces a debt deadline on July 31, meaning that
Cazorla, one way or the other, will know his future within the next two days, and I think that future will be moving to Arsenal.
He also talked about the player's attributes (which is great for those of us who aren't Spanish football experts), saying that he
- can play in all midfield positions
- moves the ball well
- is very quick
- can shoot with either foot, including free kicks
When asked how he thought Cazorla should be rated, his one word answer was "brilliant." So it looks like these moves are actually bordering on "likely-ish," though I strongly advise against any tattooing until they make it on the official website. David Hytner agrees that it should happen soon (if it does), writing that the club hope to have both players available for the final public friendly of the preseason, against Cologne on August 12th.
So perhaps we can all get those tattoos then.