Arsenal cult-hero Santi Cazorla wants Villarreal teammate Samuel Chukwueze to snub interest from the Gunners and focus on developing his game with the Yellow Submarines.
Cazorla was a fan favourite in the six years he spent in north London and was teammates with current Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
Although he left the Emirates in 2018, the Spaniard says he is still in touch with influential figures at the club who appear keen on acquiring tricky Nigerian winger Chukwueze who turned 21-years on Friday and promising 23-year-old Spanish defender Pau Torres.
Chukwueze, in particular, has long been coveted by Arsenal who made an unsuccessful play for the Nigerian in 2016 when they signed compatriot Kelechi Nwakali.
And while the 35-year-old Villarreal captain believes both players have what it takes to succeed in the Premier League, he thinks it would be a tad premature to make the move now.
“Yeah, mainly from my friends at Arsenal,” the veteran midfielder responded when asked if he gets asked a lot about Chukwueze and Torres in an interview with Marca.
“They ask me about them and they think that they can make the step to the Premier League soon. It’s good that big clubs are interested in the young players at Villarreal but, for the moment, I’m asking them to stay here.”
“They still have to make more steps in their development,” Cazorla continued. “Those two have great personalities and their feet are on the ground.
“In Pau’s case, I’m constantly hearing talk about Manchester City and FC Barcelona, but he knows that he has to keep improving as a player and we’ll see how far he can go in the future.”
Although Chukwueze has struggled to replicate the highs of his debut season he still is highly regarded at La Cerámica and recently extended his contract until 2023.
With several leading European clubs jostling for the signature of the Super Eagles player, Villarreal are likely to insist on the full payment of the forward’s €65 million buy-out clause by any interested club.