Former Arsenal star Santi Cazorla has revealed that Unai Emery held informal talks with him during the summer to develop a greater feel for the club ahead of his appointment.
Following the expiration of his contract at the Emirates Stadium, the 33-year-old completed a switch to Villarreal as he looks to put a series of injury woes behind him.
Cazorla spoke to the Guardian’s Sid Lowe about his time at Arsenal and briefly discussed how Emery got in touch with him to discuss the prospect of taking over in North London.
I didn’t know him but in the summer [Emery] called me to find out about the team and the club, for a bit more info. It’s normal to speak to someone who has been inside for their view. I told him what I thought: the things that he had to change and the things he had to reinforce.
I said that it was an incredible club, that had everything it needed to win, but that there were things that had to change. I said it would be hard to change some of them.
The creative midfielder enjoyed a long spell with the Gunners but saw the back-end of his time with the club hindered by continuous, long-term injury struggles.
Nevertheless, Cazorla is now focused on the task at hand with Villarreal as he looks to rejuvenate his career in his homeland of Spain.
Emery, meanwhile, has overseen a mixed start to life in Arsenal. His first two Premier League fixtures in charge ended in defeats but the Gunners have picked up six points from six since their teething problems.