The deadline day has passed and Arsenal have ended up signing Spain’s 2nd choice left back Nacho Monreal from Malaga. According to the club’s official website the signature has been completed for an undisclosed fee and the deal is subject to the completion of formal registration processes. So what can Nacho Monreal offer Arsenal ? Is he a long term target of Arsene Wenger or a panic buy to replace the injured Kieran Gibbs ? We will have to wait and see.
The general consensus seems to be that Monreal is Spain’s second best left-back, only behind Barcelona’s Jordi Alba. But, on a closer look Monreal seems to be on par with Alba, but has different qualities (better at defending, average going forward with an ability to cross the ball). Arsenal at the start of the January transfer window were linked with several thousands of players but none of the serious rumours were about the defenders. A certain David Villa and several other forwards along side West Ham midfielder Diame were thought to be Gunner’s main priority.
Signing Nacho Monreal is definitely a luxury for Arsenal but a defensive midfielder and a striker were the necessities, which Arsene Wenger has failed to sign. On the brighter side Arsenal fans don have to see Andre Santos and will have to believe that Gibbs will return from his injury by the time Arsenal face Bayern Munich in the Champions league.
5 things to know about Nacho Monreal:
Nacho Monreal (Ignacio “Nacho” Monreal Eraso) born in Pamplona, Spain, Monreal is an youth product of hometown club Osasuna. The left-back made his senior debut back in 2006 and after 127 appearances for the club he sealed a move to Malaga in 2011 signing a 5 year contract with them.
Though linked with a move to Liverpool in 2011, it is said that Arsenal were targeting him from last summer in the plans of securing him at the end of this season. And for this reason he started learning English and will surely have a basic Knowledge now. With his former team mate Cazorla by his side he sure will feel at home.
According whoSocred, Monreal’s strengths include concentration, short passing, aerial duels and holding up the ball. He’s also won 83% of his tackles this season, which is 14% more than Kieran Gibbs.
Nacho is slightly underrated when it comes to National team selection as he is not far behind Barcelona’s Jordi Alba. After helping Malaga secure champions league qualification last season, his performances against Zenit and Anderlecht this season were top notch. He could have easily been Joan Capdevila’s replacement for Spain if not for the incredible development of Alba.
Monreal started his International career with the Spanish U-19 side but it was with the U-21 side he excelled as a defender. He started all matches in the 2009 European Championship, in an eventual group stage exit.
Quotes on Nacho 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,” Wenger said.
“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.”
Daily Mirror reporter David Cartlidge
“Don’t expect any blistering spells of skill, or unnecessarily cavalier defending from Monreal. He’s steady and competent in his area, but this is by no means a negative—this sort of presence will offer so much to a team and will be one less problem area in the back line.”
Nacho Monreal will be pushing the England International Gibbs for the starting place and though he may not be a part of the Champions league squad, he sure will be needed in the FA cup ties and the rest of the league campaign. Overall a good signing by Arsene Wenger.