Arsenal could make “exciting” £43m signing to be their next Cazorla

Crisis, what crisis? Arsenal bounced back from a wretched run of three games without a win and just one goal in that period to trounce Crystal Palace on Sunday.

The Gunners needed to find a goalscorer and they found an unexpected one in Gabriel who thought he’d scored twice, only for one to cruelly go down as an own goal instead.

Gabriel Martinelli popped up late to score two of his own after his rival on the left-hand side Leandro Trossard had ended his own goal drought. A 5-0 win was precisely what the doctor ordered as Mikel Arteta’s men put themselves back into title contention.

However, with the January transfer window still open for business, they could further boost their hopes of bringing home the Premier League for the first time in 20 years.

Arsenal’s midfield targets

On the agenda at some point this year is strengthening the midfield. Arsenal have been all over Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz like a rash since 2022 with three bids, the maximum of which was £25m, turned down.

Since that offer, Luiz’s valuation has skyrocketed after some sterling displays for Unai Emery’s charges, now reportedly valued at £100m. Martin Zubimendi of Real Sociedad is another to be targeted while rumours linking the Gunners with a £60m move for Everton star Amadou Onana persist.


No Martinelli or Havertz in Arsenal’s dream lineup after Jan if Toney signs

The Gunners are seemingly in desperate need of a fresh face to lead the line.

Yet, last week, a new name appeared, that of Dutch sensation Xavi Simons. Currently plying his trade at RB Leipzig on loan from PSG, Arsenal are one interested party should the Parisians wish to make a quick profit on their midfield man after activating a buyback clause last summer.

That’s according to German publication BILD, via Sport Witness, who claim the north Londoners are ‘in the picture’ to acquire the 20-year-old’s signature.

Barcelona, where Simons learned his trade in La Masia, and Inter Milan are also interested in a move that according to prior reports could cost around £43m.

How Xavi Simons compares to Santi Cazorla

As analyst Ben Mattinson said before Simons turned 20, he was “one of the most exciting teenagers in world football“.


That came off the back of a campaign where no teenager in Europe bettered his tally of 28 goal involvements in league action, topping the tree ahead of Jamal Musiala on 25. In total, Simons registered a mammoth 22 goals and 12 assists in all competitions throughout a breakout 2022/23 season at PSV Eindhoven.

Coincidentally, he also starred against Arsenal in the Europa League, putting in a delightful performance from an attacking midfield position when Arteta’s side tasted defeat in the Netherlands.

Xavi Simons: PSV 2-0 Arsenal, October 22

Minutes Played


Shots on target


Dribble Success


Key Passes




Accurate Passes

13/18 (72%)

Duels Won


Stats via Sofascore.

The youngster who is evidently “really exciting to watch” – as proclaimed by the earlier-mentioned Mattinson – has continued to motor along nicely this season, bagging seven goals and supplying nine assists in Germany.

It’s that ability to score and assist on a regular basis that has drawn comparisons from an Arsenal perspective to a certain Santi Cazorla.


The Spaniard was a diminutive figure but married class with aggressive attacking play that made him an instant fan favourite at the Emirates Stadium. Indeed, his best term saw him produce 24 goal involvements in the Premier League in 2012/13.

In-depth numbers are not available for that time period via FBref so instead we’ve compared his 2019/20 season at Villarreal with Simons in 2023/24 to establish the similarities.

Xavi Simons vs Santi Cazorla

Stat (per 90 mins)

Simons – 23/24

Cazorla – 19/20







Shots on target



Key Passes



Progressive Passes



Shot-creating Actions



Goal-creating Actions



Successful take-ons






Ball Recoveries



Stats via FBref.

While Cazorla was far more progressive in his passing play and took fewer shots, when it comes to general creativity and goal-scoring there’s not a lot between the duo.

Their key pass rate is nearly identical, as is their ability to recover and subsequently carry the ball. It’s of course important to state as well that this is Simons at the start of his career vs an ageing Cazorla. If he can get close to the Spaniard at this point in his career, there is surely no stopping the young Dutchman as he gets older.

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