Arsene Wenger has admitted he had “doubts” over whether to sign Santi Cazorla for Arsenal due to the midfielder’s diminutive stature.
Cazorla has emerged as one of Arsenal’s most important players from a more reserved positions in recent times after joining from Malaga for £16million in 2012.
Many had reservations over the Spanish international due to his 5ft 5 frame and the physical nature of the Premier League, but the 30-year-old has defied the critics to become one of the league’s star players.
Wenger admits that he had his own doubts as to whether to sign Cazorla back in 2012, but that his technical traits eventually persuaded him.
“You could question whether he was physically equipped to play in the tough Premier League,” Wenger told Arsenal.com
“It’s true that I had that doubt, but his quality was so big that I was ready to take that gamble.
“His technical quality, his right foot, left foot, his availability, his vision and the quality of his passing made me go for it.
“I thought, ‘If there is a team in the Premier League where he has a chance to make it, it’s with us.’ That’s why I went for it.
Wenger also discussed how club legend Robert Pires, who played with Cazorla at Villarreal from 2011, acted almost as a “scout” with regards to the Spaniard.
“I think I first saw him when he was about 20 or 21. He was not a regular player, but in some games we watched you could see he had talent.
“After that Robert Pires moved to Villarreal and played with him. Sometimes I asked Robert, ‘Are there any good players there?’
“He said to me straight away, ‘Cazorla is a fantastic player’. So Robert was a scout for me! He at least confirmed the impression I already had about Santi.”