Santi Cazorla revealed today that he’s undergone eight different procedures following an Achilles injury suffered during Arsenal’s 6-0 victory at Ludogorets in the Champions League last October:
“I've undergone eight surgeries, the last one (on Monday). I hope that things go better.
'I've had complications since November. I got a bacterial infection in surgery, my bone got infected, the wound would not close and I had a graft done.”
Cazorla admitted that he doesn’t expect to be at full fitness by the start of the season, which makes the next bit of news he confirmed even more interesting: Arsenal triggered a club-option to extend his contract another year following his initial and subsequent ankle procedures.
In a day and age when players are viewed more as depreciating assets that are only valued by the output they generate on the pitch, it’s quite something to see the kind of loyalty on display from Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. While triggering Cazorla’s automatic one-year contract extension, remember that it’s very well understood Arsenal did the same thing for club captain Per Mertesacker, who spent all of this season rehabbing a severe knee injury and making his only start of this last campaign - in the FA Cup final versus Chelsea - a memorable one.
It’s fair to question why the club would take such actions, but this has long been a hallmark of Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal. It’s not all that shocking, then, to see virtually every player - including Cazorla - praise Wenger and celebrate the news of his two-year contract extension:
(translated) “It is vital part of this club, he had not told us anything but we were happy all. Things are very different here. The coach has done great things for the club, not now, in the past. The club values his career, he has paid A stadium he alone and has worked miracles.”
But, yes, please, keep telling me more about how Arsenal is defined by fear.