Daily Archives: January 20, 2016
I can vividly remember when I did some research on Nacho Monreal when he just joined the club from SC Malaga in the winter of 2013. Kieran Gibbs was always injured and Andre Santos was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode, with the last straw coming when he exchanged jerseys with Robin van Persie at half time, infuriating the Arsenal faithful.
It took Monreal a while go settle into English football and he had his moments when he really struggled, and I can’t think any further than the 6-3 loss to Manchester City at the Etihad where he was torn apart by Jesus Navas and co. With Gibbs still struggling for fitness and form, Monreal got a consistent run out and grew in confidence as the games came thick and fast.
As Monreal continued to provide improved performances, he showed his versatility when he adapted his game to play as a center back to aid his club in one of their world-famous injury crisis, and he was a class act in that position, making himself indispensable to the team. With the center backs returning to full fitness, Monreal retained his place at left back and it has been a losing battle for Gibbs to return to the starting XI due to the Spaniard’s consistent performances.
This season, Monreal, 29, has been an ever-present for the Gunners and he has featured in every Premier League game this season. He joined Arsenal with a four-and-a-half year deal worth in the region of £50,000-per-week so it was due to expire in the summer of 2017. The club is pleased to announce that the Spanish defender has signed a long term deal with the club.
His manager, Arsene Wenger, had some nice words to say about lil’ ol’ Ignacio,
“He is a very important player at the club because he can play left-back and center back. He has the consistency in his performances that is requested at the top level.
“Overall, his attitude has been absolutely fantastic on a daily basis since he arrived here. He’s 100 per cent committed and I think as well he has always improved since he has arrived and has shown that in many big games as well.
“He’s calm, focused and dedicated. He’s well-accepted and loved by his partners. He has the modest approach of a player who wants to give his best to the team. Everybody senses that and that’s why I think it’s important for the club to have that stability.
I’d written earlier about Monreal’s versatility but I’d touch a bit on his attitude. Since his arrival till this very moment, Monreal has been a model professional in carrying out his duties. On arriving at the club, he accepted his place behind the pecking order to Gibbs but it was down to him to prove to his manager that he was good enough to be No. 1 in the left back position. On international level, he’s also behind FC Barcelona’s Jordi Alba but Monreal has notched up just 16 caps for Spain and with his good run of form, Monreal should be in the 23-man squad for Euro 2016.
He’s one of the most, if not the most, underrated players in the team and you need to watch the lad play to value his importance to the team. The player himself has cited the reasons why extended his contract with the club,
“I’m really happy because my intention was to keep playing for Arsenal. I feel really good playing here. I have a good relationship with my team-mates and we keep improving year after year. I wanted to stay here and I could extend my contract. I would like to play here for many more years.
“The trust of the Arsenal fans is really important for us because they are helping us in every moment as we are fighting to win the Premier League. I met the boss three years ago and I have a really good relationship with him and I’m really happy with him. For these reasons I extended my contract.”
It’s good to know that we will have Monreal for years to come. In three-and-a-half seasons with the Gunners, he has made 112 appearances and scored two goals.
Download the Gooner Daily BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.
Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back
Visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page.
Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List