Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Santi Cazorla is one of the best players he has had the privilege of managing throughout his 37-years in the top job - despite the midfielder being plagued by injury in recent times.
The 33-year-old has not featured for the Gunners since the club's 6-0 Champions League win over Ludogorets in October 2016 following a series of issues with his Achilles, which has required surgery nine times within the last 14 months.
The Spaniard has since battled a bacterial infection which threatened to cost him his leg, and Cazorla look destined to finally return to training in January before being dealt another blow in the form of yet another bout of surgery last week.
Despite his absence from the side prolonged Wenger remains insistent that his absence is a big loss for Arsenal as Cazorla is one of the best players he has managed, he told the club's website:
“Santi is one of the best players I’ve had in my career and when you lose a player of that stature, it’s an absolutely immense [loss].
Sigh. I really, really miss Santi Cazorla— David Count (@DisFeMIseF) December 13, 2017
"He is the player where everybody on the pitch could give the ball to when they had a problem, and he transformed a normal ball into a fantastic ball.
“He’s a magician, Santi Cazorla. When you lose a magician, you lose some happiness in your life. Santi Cazorla smiles every day, he’s a happy man and we all suffer for him.
“We did not only lose an exceptional player until now, but as well a happy man, who was in a good mood every day and very positive with everybody. That’s difficult, on top of that,” he added.