Nacho Monreal – Is He Really The Signing That Arsenal Needed?
After Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger only added a new left back, Nacho Monreal, to his squad on deadline day, we look at the Gunners January transfer activity.
With Nacho leaving Arsenal fans hungry for more during the main course of the season, perhaps some salsa in the form of David Villa could have provided a more appetising level of optimism for the difficult run-in ahead.
Tick-tock, tick-tock. As the clock strikes 11 and the transfer window “slams shut,” Gooners around the world checking their twitter feed would be more than entitled to be worried. With no rumours of the proposed centre-back, defensive midfielder or striker joining the club, they would have to hope that a deal in the form of a new left back would push through the January deadline.
26-years-old and a Spanish international, the initial signs look promising for Arsenal’s highly rated signing Nacho Monreal. The media reaction is also positive, Spanish football expert Graham Hunter raving about how Monreal is a, “very good defender, quick at getting forward, likes a tackle, he’ll easily fit in the English game; good piece of business.”
Despite this supposedly marquee signing, it seems a bit too good to be true. With Arsenal yet to do any business before the last day of the transfer market, fans were succumbing to the fact that they would have to deal with just three strikers for the rest of the season – with Walcott, Podolski and the returning Gervinho all potentially labelled as wingers.
Manager Arsène Wenger was adamant that his team have the quality up front, but admitted that, ‘number-wise we are maybe a bit short.’ This however did not show during his business antics, the rumoured deal of another Spanish icon David Villa supposedly fading away during the final hours. But with the former European Championship winner celebrating the birth of his child only three days before, it seems irrational to have expected him to suddenly jump on a plane to London. With all respect to Arsenal Football Club, was it really reasonable to expect a forward, who is still playing regularly at the La Liga champions Barcelona, to want to join a struggling team with fans so divided that they have resulted to civil violence within the away stand at Brighton?
With this in mind, surely Wenger should have had a mass list of strikers to sign if he really wanted them? Even players like Darren Bent or (dare I say it) Peter Odemwingie – Premier League experience and most likely reasonable transfer fees, for the sake of squad depth, they could have done more than a good job for the remaining months of the season. West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame is another one who may have been signed, a strong midfielder who could reliably perform the role in which Abou Diaby has been inconsistently courting for years.
But instead of any of the above, Arsenal fans have been left with Nacho Monreal. It is surely no coincidence that their clash against Liverpool the previous night delivered the ever-present Kieran Gibbs a significant amount of time on the touchlines with a thigh injury. No one, not even Arsène Wenger himself, could trust the enigma Andre Santos to guard the left flank during the crucial parts of the season to come, therefore it left the Frenchman no choice but to act quick.
Despite most fans begging to differ, the name Nacho Monreal would not have popped up in their minds any time soon, were it not for the shock injury to one of the clubs best performing players this season. Is it unreasonable to give further ammunition to criticise the board and Arsène Wenger in performing yet another panic buy, whose contribution in the coming months may be questioned.
The Spaniard will be cup-tied in the Champions League, Santos still having to face the prospect of facing either or both of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in the upcoming last-16 fixture of Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich. When Gibbs returns, Monreal may find himself thrust back onto the bench, perhaps unlikely to oust any of Arsenal’s presently prolific attacking stars out of the first-team.
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Having never won a trophy, the jury will still be out on Monreal and Wenger’s desperate transfer antics. However, fans, pundits and journalists will be hoping that they have to eat their words, as the one they call Nacho will attempt to give the Gunners that extra crunch that they’ve been looking for.
What do Arsenal fans think of Arsene Wenger’s January activity? Get involved in the comments section below.
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