Cazorla: Ozil arrival surprised Arsenal players

The Spain international says the German has been instrumental in the Gunners' recent revival, and also insists that Liverpool are genuine contenders for the title this season
Santi Cazorla has admitted that even Arsenal's players were surprised that the "magical" Mesut Ozil decided to leave Real Madrid for the Emirates.

The notoriously frugal Gunners broke their transfer record by paying €50 million to sign the Germany international from los Blancos on deadline day - but Cazorla feels that it has already proven to have been money very well spent.

"He brings us something different, because he’s all talent and what he does is magic," the Spaniard told El Pais. "It seems like he’s not there and then he changes a game with one control, one pass.

"It surprised us that he came to Arsenal, because you don’t expect him to leave Madrid and then choose our team. For us he’s a gift."

With Arsenal currently riding high at the top of the Premier League, Cazorla also feels the team as a whole have improved upon last season.

"We’ve matured, I think," the 28-year-old mused. "It’s nice to see yourself top, it gives you strength and confidence, but there’s a long way to go.

"We had to be more consistent and we are now; that is a defect that we have corrected. The team is not as innocent; we are committing fewer errors.

"Last year, through forgetfulness or lack of concentration, we lost games stupidly and we have learned from that."

Although Ozil's arrival has contributed to Cazorla being pushed out to the left-hand side, he says he still has sufficient time and space in which to express himself because of the nature of the Premier League.

"The football is England is less tactical; it’s more open," he explained. "It has given me absolute freedom.

"Although I play out a little on the left, [coach Arsene Wenger] lets me go into the centre, to change positions, and I like that a lot.

Cazorla also hailed the competitive nature of English football, and believes that surprise package Liverpool can go all the way this season.

"The Premier League is very open," he continued. "[Manchester] United beat us and they are now only five points behind, just like that things can change.

"And then there is Liverpool, who are the surprise of the campaign, and I think are serious candidates because they have strengthened well.

"They have put together a compact team and they have the advantage of only playing in one competition [rather than in Europe].

"But look at [Manchester] City, who lost against Sunderland, or Tottenham, who lost at home. The Premier League is not easy, it’s not Spain - it’s more equal."