By Rob Kelly

Arsène Wenger believes Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta would be international regulars were they not from Spain.

Competition is fierce for a place in the world and European champions’ squad, and Arsenal vice-captain Arteta has never been capped by his country.

Cazorla has featured 47 times for Vicente Del Bosque’s side, but Wenger believes he would have played many more times if he was from any other nation.

“You would think Cazorla or Arteta would play [regularly] in many other countries, but with Spain they don't because they have Iniesta, Busquets and Xavi there,” he said. “Even Cesc Fabregas does not always play.”

Wenger says Cazorla has the quality to fill the Fabregas role in his new-look Arsenal side, but admits tying up a deal for the midfielder was a lengthy process.

“He is a good link between midfield and the final third. He gives you availability always to turn the game forward and he has an exceptional technical level,” he said.

“He was interested in joining us last season but in the end we were beaten by Malaga, who had a completely new ambition. But he impressed us, so I kept him in my mind.

“We took advantage of the fact that Malaga were in no-man's land for a while - it was very difficult to find somebody to speak to! In the end we could do it but it was not easy.”

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22 Sep 2012