Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has revealed he tried to sign Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla for Liverpool when he was in charge at Anfield.
Benitez had some success with bringing Spanish players to the Reds, most notably Fernando Torres, now working under him at Chelsea as well – and Cazorla, who was with Villareal at the time, was a player the former Liverpool boss had his eye on.
In the end, Cazorla found his way to Arsenal after a season at Malaga, who had to sell the player due to financial problems. Although he only cost around £12million, Benitez said he would have been too expensive a few years ago when he was interested in him.
He told the Mirror:
“The chairman [at Villareal] wanted to keep the team and didn’t want to lose one of his best players. 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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