Villarreal and Spain international midfielder Santi Cazorla, a rumoured transfer target for Arsenal this summer, is moving to Malaga in a club-record €22m deal.
25-year-old Cazorla, part of the Spain squad that won the 2010 World Cup, will link up with his former Villarreal manager Manuel Pellegrini, now in charge of Los Boquerones.
The deal for Cazorla will see the Andalusian clubs summer spending reach the €55m mark, the club having spent heavily on the likes of France international Jeremy Toulalan, Dutch pairing Joris Mathijsen and Ruud van Nistelrooy, and Cazorla’s Spanish international colleague Nacho Monreal.
Cazorla made his debut for Villarreal in 2003, given his head by Pellegrini and has since become an integral part of the side, whilst also representing the Spanish national team 34 times, scoring five times.
His tactical flexibility and ability to play in a number of posittions in forward areas – as a winger on either flank or as a number 10 – had seen the player mooted as a potential replacement for both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri at the Emirates Stadium.
However, Malaga, backed by the money of the Qatari national, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani, have beaten the Gunners to the players signature before Arsene Wenger had even been able to think about getting his chequebook out.