It was around 5:30 yesterday evening when news started filtering through that the 26 year old Malaga left back, Nacho Monreal, was travelling to London for a medical with Arsenal. The deal, it has since been revealed, was initially scheduled to take place in the summer, as Arsene Wenger clearly recognised the need to replace under-fire left back, Andre Santos.
However, due to a thigh strain to Kieran Gibbs which Wenger revealed may keep him out for up to 8 weeks, the deal was accelerated to try and help Arsenal’s chances of Champions League qualification for next season.
Many were surprised at the news that such a highly-rated player had crept under the radar of the ‘omniscient’ media. Spanish football expert, Graham Hunter described him as:
‘The second best left back in Spain after Jordi Alba.’ He added that ‘Monreal is that composite of Spanish and British that people enjoy watching. As much a wing back as a full back. Monreal is quick, wirey, aggressive, creative, has a great engine, and uses the final ball well. Fans will enjoy him.’
The price is rumoured to be between €10m-€12m with Nacho signing a ‘long term contract’ rumoured to be around £60k a week.
So from the sound of things, Nacho Monreal is a very good signing who will not only add much needed defensive stability to our back four but also help to contribute in the final third in terms of assists and goals.
There will undoubtedly be competition between Nacho, who will be 27 by the end of the month, and Gibbs, the 23 year old left back with great potential who has been performing admirably this season but will be sidelined for a very important part of the season.
So just one signing this window for Arsenal, however the one signing we have made will add proven quality to a back four which has looked increasingly shaky as the season has gone on.
I can’t really see any downsides to the deal as it should force the best out of both Gibbs and Santos, the Brazilian who showed brief moments of quality last season and will have to be at his best in the Champions League with Gibbs injured and Nacho cup tied.
Written by James Cook
Follow him on Twitter @JCook_04
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