Santi Cazorla makes decision over Villarreal future amid Arsenal return links

Villarreal have confirmed Santi Cazorla has chosen not to extend his contract with the club, amid speculation he could return to Arsenal in a coaching capacity.

The 35-year-old midfielder has enjoyed a sensational season with the Spanish side, scoring 15 goals and providing 10 assists in 39 appearances.

Cazorla will make his final appearance for Villarreal as they face Eibar in their final La Liga game of the season on Sunday.

When asked last month if he was open to a reunion with former Arsenal teammate and current Gunners manager Mikel Arteta – whose coaching staff he would join – Cazorla kept his cards close to his chest but said he had made a decision about his next move.

And he has now confirmed he is leaving Villarreal – where he emerged at the age of 18 – alongside teammate Bruno Soriano in a video posted by the club.

Cazorla said: "Villarreal have given me everything. At the age of 18, they opted to sign a boy from Oviedo who knew no-one. I am proud to be able to finish my career with Bruno.

"I hope that, as happened with my previous farewell match [when Cazorla left in 2006], it will be a 'see you later'."

As well as a return to the Emirates Stadium, where he was a fan favourite throughout his six years of service, Cazorla is linked with a big-money contract at Al Sadd.

Managed by former Spain teammate Xavi, the Qatari side are thought to be offering a player-coach role and talks are at an advanced stage.

However, Arsenal could be given a boost in their pursuit of Cazorla if Xavi leaves his role.

The Barcelona legend is widely mooted to be next in line to manage his former side as Quique Setien's replacement.

The Catalan giants are in dismal form by their standards and recently conceded the La Liga title to arch-rivals Real Madrid, leaving Setien's future hanging in the balance.

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