“Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Spanish international defender Nacho Monreal has agreed to join the Gunners on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee. Monreal (26), who will join Arsenal from Spanish La Liga side Malaga, is predominantly a left full-back and has represented his country Spain at youth level, Under-21s and has made nine appearances for the national team.” – Arsenal statement at midnight on transfer deadline day.
Arsene Wenger once again pulled off a late transfer signing, in the final hours of January, and it is fair to say most Arsenal fans will have reacted with the question: “Who?!”
Ignacio Monreal Eraso, to give him his full name, looks like being an astute signing from Wenger. As a Spanish international with a classy left foot, the 26-year-old could well help shore up the Arsenal defence.
It would be no surprise if Wenger has poached another Spanish star for Arsenal from Malaga but it does raise a fair few questions about how Arsenal conduct their transfer strategy.
Did Wenger only move for Monreal because of an injury to Kieran Gibbs picked up in the Liverpool game? Gibbs has been one of Arsenal’s better players this season and although the England starlet is injury prone would the Spanish defender have been signed if he had made it through the Premier League match?
And, were Arsenal really in need of a left back? Arguably, a central defender, defensive midfielder or even a striker were more of a priority.
To give Arsenal fans an idea of how Nacho Monreal play, below is a video of his final performance for Malaga, in a 3-2 victory at Mallorca where he scored the third (3.10 on the video below).