Santi Cazorla has admitted that the fact he didn’t get to say goodbye to Arsenal fans on the pitch remains a ‘sore spot’ for him.
The midfielder spent seven years with the Gunners, after arriving from Málaga in the summer of 2012.
He went on to make 180 appearances in all competitions for the club, winning one FA Cup, becoming a huge fan favourite in the process.
Ultimately injuries stopped him from making more appearances before he departed for Villarreal on a free transfer in 2018.
His situation at the time meant Cazorla never got to play in front of the Arsenal fans before his departure, something the midfielder admits he may never get over.
“It’s a big sore spot that I don’t know if I can be rid of,” he told Marca.
“I hope I can play there for any team and thank them for the love they have always shown me and continue to show me.
“Last summer there was the option to play the Emirates Cup, but in the end, it didn’t happen, and it was a shame. I hope these doors open for me.”
While Cazorla may no longer be at the Emirates, that does not mean he is still not in regular contact with those at the club.
The 35-year-old still has plenty of friends there, including the thousands in the stands, and it seems they’ve been trying to use that to their advantage.
According to him, he gets regular contact from friends at his former club, particularly when it comes to asking about Villarreal’s current crop of talented youngsters.
“Yes, friends from Arsenal especially,” he added when asked if he gets many calls from England.
“They ask me about them and think they can make the jump to the Premiership tomorrow.
“It’s good that great teams are interested in young players from Villarreal, but for the moment I tell them to leave them alone here.
“They still have to take steps forward. They both have a great personality, and their feet are on the ground.
“In Pau’s (Torres) case he hears constant talk of City or Barcelona, but he is aware that he has to keep growing as a player and that in the future we will see where he can go.”