Exclusive: Arsenal Star Subject Of £18m Atletico Madrid Bid

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Gunners attacker on Atletico radar.

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Spanish champions Atletico Madrid could be prepared to make a bid of around £18m for Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla this summer, CaughtOffside understands.

Atletico boss Diego Simeone is currently facing the likely departures of several key players after the club enjoyed a sensational title-winning season as well as reaching the final of the Champions League for only the second time in their history.

Despite the team’s tremendous success, it looks likely that key midfield players such as young playmaker Koke and Turkish winger Arda Turan could be poached by Europe’s elite clubs, with Barcelona and big-name Premier League sides showing a strong interest in both players.

Cazorla has been linked with Atletico in the past, and would now appear to be Simeone’s first choice to come in if either of these two midfield players leave, with the Gunners star able to play either out wide or in a central attacking midfield role.

The 29-year-old has only been at the Emirates Stadium for two seasons following a £12m move from La Liga side Malaga, but he has previously hinted that he could be keen to return to his native Spain before the end of his career.

Arsenal have been known in recent times for selling their top players if the right offer comes along, which has seen the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie depart the club in the last few years, much to the dismay of the fans.

Cazorla has done well to establish himself as a top player in England, and scored a superb free-kick in this season’s FA Cup final to kick-start his side’s comeback from 2-0 down to eventually triumph 3-2 over Hull City at Wembley and pick up their first piece of silverware since 2005.

Arsenal fans will be hoping that their new-found success will help them keep their best players and remain competitive, but with Atletico growing as a force in Spain and Europe, it would not be surprising if Cazorla’s head was turned by their interest this summer.

With the Spanish international also approaching his 30s, the Gunners board may feel the offer of £18m that Atletico are willing to pay may be too good to turn down at this stage.

Arsene Wenger’s side themselves have been linked with some big names in this summer’s transfer market, and it could be that the sale of a player like Cazorla is needed to help fund moves for the likes of Alexis Sanchez of Barcelona or Juan Cuadrado of Fiorentina.

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