Wenger salutes Giroud

LONDON. — Santi Cazorla has agreed a deal to join Atletico Madrid.

That’s according to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope, who claim the midfielder has agreed a deal in principle to join the La Liga giants.

Cazorla has been in impressive form for the Gunners this season and has scored seven goals in all competitions for Arsene Wenger’s side.

Cazorla captained Arsenal for Sunday’s FA Cup tie with Middlesbrough at the Emirates Stadium, and has been in his best form since arriving in London back in 2012.

But radio station Cadena Cope has reported that Atleti are already discussing a possible summer move with Arsenal, and that the midfielder has agreed his personal terms.

His quality displays have seen him attract interest from a host of Europe’s top clubs, including Barcelona.

But according to Cadena Cope, Atletico have pipped their rivals to the signing of the former Villarreal star.

While the move would be a huge shock, Cazorla will only have a year to run on his contract at the end of the season, and the Gunners may look to cash in despite his sparkling form.

Cazorla joined Arsenal in 2012 from Malaga and has scored 26 goals in 129 appearances for the Gunners.

The 30-year-old began his career with Villarreal, where he caught the eye of oil-back Malaga back in 2011.

He joined Arsenal after just one season on the Costa del Sol, and has established himself as a fans’ favourite in north London.

The Gunners have been linked with a Bosman move for James Milner, while the emergence of Francis Coquelin could mean excessive competition for places in the Arsenal squad.

Meanwhile, Wenger believes Olivier Giroud has transformed as a player during his time at Arsenal, as the French striker scored twice at the Emirates to beat Middlesbrough 2-0 and send the FA Cup holders into the quarter-finals.

Giroud hit two goals in two minutes just before the half-hour, with Wenger especially pleased with the manner of the goals.

The first, after 27 minutes, came at the end of a flowing move than involved every player in the Arsenal starting XI. The second, on 29 minutes, involved a piece of quick thinking as Giroud reacted first to Alexis Sanchez’s rapidly taken corner. — The Daily Star-AFP.