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Friday, November 2, 2012
Pires: I told Wenger to sign Cazorla

Fabien Perrin, France Correspondent

Former Arsenal winger Robert Pires has praised new signing Santi Cazorla and says that he played a role in persuading Arsene Wenger to sign the Spanish midfielder.

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Pires played with Cazorla at Villarreal before he left the club in 2010 and Cazorla went on to sign for the Gunners last summer for around 15 million. The 26-year-old hit the ground running and has been the main creative force at the Emirates this season, something Pires says he was well aware of.

"Cazorla is a great player," Pires told Zone Mixte. "I noticed him immediately and saw him growing as a player in Villarreal; today I'm happy he is at Arsenal at last. He is a player who fits well into Arsenal's style.

"I gave an interview after he had joined us in a few training sessions [for Villarreal]. Some Spanish journalists asked me who is the player you like? My answer was there is one who you don't know which foot is his best: it's Santi Cazorla. I have been telling that to coach [Wenger] for two years. I considered him as the ideal player for Arsenal."

Asked which part of the Arsenal team he would strengthen, Pires also admitted that he would "have enjoyed to see Hugo Lloris join too" and would add "another striker to Giroud".

Pires, who has not officially retired but is working as a TV pundit, added that his French compatriot would need time to fully settle at the club.

"Fans should remember Thierry Henry when he joined Arsenal. He didn't score much before becoming an icon of this club," he said. "Fans should be more patient with Giroud then. It's never easy to switch from one football to another one, from one culture, one language to a new one. I'm sure he will come stronger and stronger."

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