Wonderful player and, imo, one of the most gifted players I’ve personally seen at Arsenal in the 20+ years I remember.
Was our best player for a number of years and despite leaving us, and the bitterness of how it all happened, do I begrudge him wanting to join his boyhood club, to play under a manager who was a childhood idol, at a time when that club was enjoying a golden era? Looking back, I don’t.
When it turned out rather badly for him there, we didn’t want him back so he went and took the next best offer at Chelsea. We had Cazorla, Özil and Wilshere. We had moved on from him (although I still think we should have taken him back because he was still excellent at that point, shown by the crazy number of assists he got in Chelsea’s title win).
I would have loved for him to have won something with us, but he was too often surrounded by utter fucking dross. The van Persie and Nasri era we got close, but our luck with injuries was so poor that we never really got to realise the potential of having all 3 for an entire season.
His eye for a 50 yard through ball was utterly sublime. I can’t remember us ever having a midfielder with that level of vision and technical execution.