Arsenal sealed a late deadline day deal yesterday evening, signing Malaga’s Nacho Monreal for a fee believed to be anywhere from £8m – £10m. Monreal has signed what was described as a ‘long-term contract’ by the club which has been reported in the media as a 4 and a half year deal.
He is a left-back and you would assume he was signed to give serious competition to Kieran Gibbs and deputise for him whilst he is injured. Andre Santos’ performances of late have not been good enough, so I would imagine given Gibbs’ injury, this is the reason why Monreal was signed yesterday. Sky Sports reported that Arsenal had reportedly looked into signing him last summer and had a deal planned for this coming summer. However, as mentioned above, Gibbs’ injury probably forced Wenger’s hand.
Monreal is a Spanish international, so has played for the World and European champions on the international stage. He started his career with hometown club Osasuna and progressed from the youth teams to the first-team where he made 127 appearances for the club. Monreal then moved to Malaga in the summer of 2011, where he was a team-mate of Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla. Much like Cazorla’s transfer, Arsenal were able to get Monreal for a good price because of Malaga’s financial difficulties.
Manager Arsene Wenger said the following after signing Monreal:
“We are delighted that Nacho Monreal has agreed to join us. We have been monitoring him for some time now and are really pleased that we’ve been able to agree this move today. Monreal is a strong left-sided defender with good experience at both club and international level. He is a technically gifted player, a good crosser in the final third and strong in the air. Monreal will add quality to our squad and of course, to our defensive unit. We all look forward to him playing for us.”
I haven’t seen enough of Monreal to say he’s the solution to our problems. However, I have heard he is a player that likes to get forward, but he can also defend too which is obviously necessary and what Andre Santos lacks. He is also a player that can quickly adapt and apparently with this deal on the cards a while ago, he started learning English in preparation for it. He has Mikel Arteta and former Malaga team-mate Santi Cazorla in the squad that are Spanish amongst others and players that can speak Spanish that are from other countries too. So gelling in shouldn’t be an issue and he certainly is a player that plays a position we need help in right now.
I must admit, if Wenger hadn’t have brought in a left-back I’d have questioned whether he cares anymore, as Santos was so poor the other night that Gibbs’ absence would have been very costly. Wenger claims he was close to signing another player before the deadline, who was unnamed. Maybe they will sign in the summer, whoever they may have been.
I wasn’t expecting any signings in truth, so I am satisfied that Arsene did bring someone in. However, I do think we would have benefited from a defensive midfielder, another centre-back, a backup keeper that can challenge Szczesny and would have liked to have seen a player like David Villa in. This is what we have until the summer though, I hope we can qualify for the Champions League. If we can’t, attracting players in the summer will be more difficult.
Monreal will wear the number 17 shirt, last worn at the club by Alex Song, who left Arsenal to join Barcelona last summer. Monreal could make his Arsenal debut as soon as tomorrow against Stoke.