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Conte hails Hazard as Blues stay perfect

Chelsea
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Gunners close to Cazorla deal

Arsenal look set to benefit from the turmoil at Malaga by wrapping up a cut-price €16 million deal for Spain international Santi Cazorla.

• Santi Cazorla profile
• Malaga investment 'not refused'
• Rondon anticipates Malaga sales

Cazorla joined Malaga just 12 months ago for €19 million, and the playmaker's performances in guiding the club to fourth spot in La Liga and a Champions League qualifying spot should have increased his value even further.

"To sell him for €20 million would be to give him away - I do not believe the club would do that," the Andalucians' coach, Manuel Pellegrini, said just last week, but with money now quickly required to pay Malaga's mounting debts, Arsenal look to have got themselves a bargain.

Local paper Malaga Hoy reports that Cazorla was given permission on Thursday to miss training and fly to London with his wife and agent to undertake the first stage of his Arsenal medical.

Malaga released a statement via the club website on Thursday claiming that a period of "internal financial restructuring" was required to meet UEFA's incoming Financial Fair Play regulations. This has been taken in Spain to mean that its Qatari owner, Abdullah Al-Thani, has decided against any further investment in the club, and rumours are still circulating that he remains keen to sell up.

Pellegrini, who also managed Cazorla to Champions League qualification at Villarreal, is reportedly deeply unhappy with the current state of affairs and considering his position.

Cazorla could soon be joined at the Emirates by another La Liga-based midfielder, with Real Madrid's Nuri Sahin seemingly set to arrive on loan for the 2012-13 season. Jose Mourinho has said the Turkey international is free to leave the Bernabeu.

Cazorla's former team-mates trained Friday morning in Malaga, with attacker Isco joining the group after his unsuccessful Olympic campaign with Spain.

Afterwards goalkeeper Willy Caballero told reporters that the loss of Cazorla and other squad members would be damaging and he hoped Pellegrini would stay.

"When anyone leaves we lose something important - that goes for Santi and anyone else," he said. "They were all important as together we achieved our objective of fourth place last season. Losing Pellegrini would be losing a great coach."

The Argentine 'keeper said that he for one was staying at the club, and the remaining players needed to focus on preparing for the coming season, starting with Saturday's friendly in Italy against Serie A champions Juventus.

"The situation has been difficult at various times, but we must focus and come through it," he said. "The group must prepare for the upcoming season, and most importantly remain united. We try and keep out of what we cannot fix and get ready for La Liga, the Champions League and now we are going on this tour."

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