Arsenal have officially announced that Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla will leave the club upon the expiry of his contract next month.
The news comes after the 33-year-old sat out the entire 2017/18 campaign with an Achilles injury, and following some fears that he may never play again at a professional level after a number of surgeries. He scored 29 goals in 180 appearances for the Gunners, but hadn’t featured since October 2016 because of the problems he encountered.
Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis said in a club statement of thanks on Arsenal’s website on Monday evening: “Santi is always one of my favourite players to watch. His natural ability with both feet, his speed of thought and movement were central to our best performances in recent years.
“He plays with a joy and freedom which is very rare. We wish him well for the future and thank him for his important contribution to our club.”
Cazorla leaves Arsenal having helped the club to life two FA Cups and two Community Shields, and will perhaps be best remembered for scoring Arsenal’s first goal in the 2014 FA Cup Final vs Hull City, as Arsenal came from two goals down to win 3-2.
It is expected that Cazorla will now return to former club Villarreal to see out the remainder of his playing days in his native Spain.