Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Cazorla backing Gunners to fire

Santi Cazorla thinks Arsenal will improve again next season

Santi Cazorla is convinced Arsenal's renewed self-belief will see them challenging for the Barclays Premier League title next season - by when they are expected to have £22million Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain on board.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is determined to bolster his squad over the summer, with Higuain the leading target as talks with Real Madrid continue for the forward. With a few additions, Arsenal will look to build on a superb run which saw them win eight of the final 10 league matches to finish fourth and secure a Champions League play-off place.

"When the team doesn't win and we don't get the results we want, the collective confidence does drop a little and that is natural. Now we have put in a spectacular run-in and you can see the difference in mentality," Cazorla said in the July edition of the official Arsenal magazine.

"We have great players. I am sure next season we will be a better team and improve. Next season we hope we can be even better and win trophies and the supporters can enjoy it, that is what Arsenal really wants."

The Emirates Stadium wage bill has already been reduced by the release of Andrey Arshavin, Denilson and Sebastien Squillaci.

Other surplus fringe players like Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner, in talks with Eintracht Frankfurt, Morocco forward Marouane Chamakh and South Korean Park Chu-young are all also expected to leave this summer before the squad head out to Asia for a lucrative pre-season tour which includes matches in Vietnam and Japan.

Following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, Wenger is now the longest serving manager in the Premier League. With Jose Mourinho having returned to Chelsea, David Moyes moving to Old Trafford and Manuel Pellegrini taking over at Manchester City, there is an element of uncertainty over Arsenal's championship rivals.

Cazorla, though, does not feel that necessarily will prove a hindrance, believing his former boss at Malaga will "make City a better team".

The Spain international added: "I do not think it influences too much. The most radical change is at Manchester United because Ferguson has been there for so long. It will be a little difficult at the start for a new manager, but I don't think it influences too much in terms of being an advantage for other teams.

"There are great managers at those clubs and I am sure it will be just as difficult."

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