Arsenal confirm Santi Cazorla departure

Arsenal announced on Monday that Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla is to leave the club following the end of his contract. 

The diminutive playmaker spent six years at the club after arriving from Malaga in 2012 and for the most part enjoyed some of the best years of his career with Arsenal. 

However, the latter years of his spell in North London were plagued by a terrible injury.

A gifted player 

During Cazorla's time with Arsenal, he featured on 180 occasions, scoring 29 goals and providing a host of assists for his team-mates. 

Technically gifted on the ball with both feet, the Spaniard quickly became one of the best creative players in the Premier League. 

In his first season with Arsenal, he scored 12 times in the league, playing all 38 matches which helped him to win the club's player of the season award. 

Cazorla would go on to win two FA Cup's, including scoring a brilliant free-kick to help end Arsenal's trophy drought in the 2013/14 final. The 33-year-old also won two Community Shields. 

Injury woes

Cazorla was a huge fan favourite at Arsenal, and was a mainstay in the team throughout the first three years of his spell in England.

However, he featured just 21 times in 2015/16, after missing three months of the season with a knee injury.

It would get worse for Cazorla, who would then play only 11 times the following campaign, before not playing a minute in 2017/18. 

Cazorla hasn't played since 19th October 2016, when he picked up an Achilles tendon injury playing against Ludogorets in the Champions League. 

A standard period of rehab did not work meaning he had to undergo surgery. But just one operation wasn't effective either.

In the end, the Spaniard went through eight operations, whilst also contracting gangrene in which a skin graft from his arm had to be taken in order to help the problem. 

Initially, it had been feared that he may never be able to walk again, but Cazorla was back running and featuring in training for Arsenal by the end of the 2017/18 campaign. 

Upon leaving the club, he expressed his sadness at having to depart: "I'm so sad to be leaving after so many great times. I have loved my time with the club and I will always remember the special moments we had together. 

"You [the fans] always gave me special support and I'm very proud to be a part of this club's history," Cazorla said.