Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Robert Pires convinced him to sign Spanish international Santi Cazorla.
Pires who was recently lauded by Francis Coquelin for his influence in his progress since returning to the Emirates from Charlton Athletic back in January was one of the key figures in the Arsenal squad that went an entire season without losing a game has been at the Emirates, training with the first team.
Wenger admitted that he had watched Cazorla earlier in his career but was compelled to bring him to Arsenal after reassurances from the 1998 World Cup winner.
“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.” Wenger is quoted as saying on Tribal Football.
Cazorla who will be 31 in December joined the North London club from Malaga back in 2012 in a reported £16 million deal after he had played alongside Gunners legend Pires at Villarreal.
The Spaniard has grown to become one of Wenger’s most dependable squad members despite being played in a deeper role than what he is accustomed to.