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Arsenal braced as Atletico Madrid prepare swoop for Spain star

| 13.06.2014

In all likelihood, Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla will start on the bench when his country attempt to begin their World Cup defence with a 5/6 win over Holland, but there’s at least one Spain-based boss who wants the 30-year-old in his first-team next term, according to reports.

Atletico Madrid will require more than one new signing this summer once their talented group become ripped apart by foreign invaders.

Their immediate need for a new attacking-midfielder following Diego’s move to Fenerbahce has led their gaffer straight to the Emirates’ door, with a €20m bid thought to be in preparation.

Spanish paper AS has reported the link, with the Madrid publication insisting that Cazorla wants a move back to his homeland, despite signing a new contract in north London less than a month ago, and proffers Diego Simeone’s La Liga champions as his likely destination.

After spending seven of the first eight years of his professional career with Mediterranean-coast club Villarreal, the Asturias native made a €21 million move to nouveau riche Malaga in the summer of 2011, but was snapped up by the Gunners 12 months later when the Andalusians’ money ran out.

Cazorla was linked with a move to the Vicente Calderon following a successful first season in the Premier League, when he bagged 12 goals and was a virtual ever present for Arsenal, with 37 starts and one substitute appearance.

Last term wasn’t quite as fruitful for the attacking-midfielder/left-winger, with just seven strikes bagged in 46 all-competition matches.

However, the fact that five of those came within a five-match burst at the start of 2014 suggests Cazorla has lost none of his sharpness.

Coach Vicente del Bosque is expected to name Cesc Fabregas, David Silva and Andres Iniesta from the off in the three forward positions in front of Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets and Xavi Hernandez against Holland, with the first of that sextet the shortest among them to open the scoring at 6/1.

Cazorla can be backed at 4/1 to hit the net at some point within the 90 and 12/1 to close proceedings with a strike.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune