News Matches

Cazorla backs Arteta to become a 'great' coach at Arsenal

18:29 GMT 23/01/2020
Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2019-20
The Spain international is confident his former team-mate will bring good results to north London in his first job as a head coach

Former Arsenal star Santi Cazorla has backed Mikel Arteta to become "a great coach" at the club.

Arteta made the leap into management when he left his post as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City to take over at the helm of the Gunners, replacing Unai Emery in December.

The north London side have lost just one of their seven games since Arteta took charge, but Wednesday's 2-2 result at Chelsea was their third draw in a row and fourth overall under the new boss.

Arsenal are now 10th in the Premier League and 10 points behind their midweek opponents, who occupy the last Champions League spot, but Cazorla is confident his former team-mate will deliver the goods at the Emirates Stadium.

"Yes, I believed he would become a manager in the future. Even when I was playing with him, he showed great leadership in dressing room," the Spanish midfielder told Goal.

"Some say it's a gamble for Arsenal to appoint him, but I believe it's a reasonable challenge. He also worked as a coach under Pep Guardiola.

"I believe he can become a great coach."

He added: "It's not easy for any manager now to be like [Arsene] Wenger or [Sir Alex] Ferguson. I can't anticipate how long he'll stay at Arsenal, but I believe he can also make great career at Arsenal, and he's a proper one for Arsenal. I hope Mikel leads Arsenal well."

The 35-year-old played 180 games in his six years at Arsenal before leaving for Villarreal in 2018.

His final three years in the English capital were plagued by injury and he feels he still has unfinished business at the club.

"I don't know if it's possible or not, but I want to play one more game for Arsenal before I retire," he said. "It was a deep regret that I could never have a proper goodbye.

"Arsenal was the biggest club I ever played for. I'm proud that I was an Arsenal player. I'm especially grateful for Arsenal fans who supported me even after I left the club. I wish I can be part of the Gunners family in the future again."

Cazorla has scored nine goals in the 20 appearances he has made for Villarreal this season and he feels he is thriving once again with the Spanish side.

"If my form is good, that's thanks to my club, Villareal. Many people are helping me, and I'm grateful for my club," he said.

"Our aim for this season is to return to European competition for sure. We have done well in Europe in the past, and I believe we can do well now, too."