We knew he could be great! Benítez wanted to sign Cazorla for Liverpool

Chelsea boss Rafael Benítez reveals that he wanted to sign Santi Cazorla during his time in charge of Liverpool

santi cazorla
Santi Cazorla joined Arsenal from Malaga this summer Photo: Back Page Images

santi cazorla

Rafael Benítez has revealed that he wanted to bring Santi Cazorla to Liverpool during his time at Anfield – but a move didn’t materialise because the Reds could not afford the Spain international.

Cazorla, 28, has been one of Arsenal’s standout performers since completing a £16m move to north London from Malaga last summer, scoring seven goals and creating seven assists.

Benítez, whose Chelsea side host the Gunners at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, admits he is a keen admirer of the playmaker and tried to sign him for the Reds.

But the former Liverpool boss says that the move fell through because of the midfielder’s hefty price-tag.

“The chairman [at Cazorla’s former club Villarreal] wanted to keep the team and didn’t want to lose one of his best players,” said Benítez.

“It wasn’t possible to sign him because it was a big risk with the amount of money we had to spend.

“At the time he was a winger and not playing ­between the lines or as a ­second striker.

“We knew he could be a great player, but he was too much at the time and we could not afford him.

“To come to England and ­settle down is not just down to the quality of the player but sometimes it also depends on the environment and in the case of Cazorla, he is doing well at Arsenal.”

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