Wenger makes rare last-ditch dip into transfer market for Nacho

08:25 01 February 2013

Nacho Monreal. Photo: John Walton/EMPICS

Nacho Monreal. Photo: John Walton/EMPICS


Transfer news: Arsene Wenger made a case for his Arsenal defence last night and today did something about it, signing Malaga full-back Nacho Monreal on a long-term contract.

Wenger lost another defender, Kieran Gibbs, for three weeks to a thigh injury during the 2-2 draw with Liverpool - a game during which the Gunners displayed the defensive frailties that have blighted them all season.

Wenger’s response was to do an out-of-character piece of late business, paying an undisclosed fee for 26-year-old Spain international Monreal as the clock struck 11.

“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.

“He will add quality to our squad and of course, to our defensive unit. We all look forward to him playing for us.”

The deal remains subject to the completion of what the club describe as a formal registration process, but does represent an unusual move from Wenger.

He has rarely dealt so close to the deadline, but the injury suffered by Gibbs last night seems to have forced his hand.

Monreal, a former Osasuna academy graduate, signed for Malaga for £6million in 2011 after making an impression with his hometown club, for whom he made 127 appearances.

He made his debut for Spain in a 2009 friendly against Macedonia and has gone on to win nine caps for the national side.

He should add some steel to a much-maligned Arsenal back four - a defensive line that was bailed out by Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott against Liverpool.

They made a number of catastrophic errors and were fortunate to only be 2-0 down when the comeback started, and according to striker Lukas Podolski, they cannot keep letting teams get a jump on them.

“It is a problem in the last matches that we are losing a goal and then coming from behind,” the German said.

“We must start strong from the first minute and score the first goal.

“In the last few weeks that has always been the problem, that we have to fight and come back.

“However, when you are 2-0 down and you come back like against Liverpool it feels like three points, and this is the way we have been playing recently.”

Arsenal remain sixth, four points behind Tottenham and three off fifth-placed Everton in the race to secure Champions League qualification once again.

Podolski, though, insists the team have what it takes to overhaul their rivals and even catch third-placed Chelsea, who have an eight-point advantage over Arsenal.

“We must fight for the Champions League places and this is our focus. We want third place and we have a lot of matches to play,” he said.

“We are in the FA Cup and the Champions League, but the focus must be on the Premier League.

“Of course we wanted to finish first, but we lost a lot of points in the first half of the Premier League and now the difference is too big.

“All the other teams are really strong so we must fight in every game.”

Related articles


Latest Sport Stories

Thu, 18:15
John Ryder (right) in action against Nick Blackwell in ttheir British middleweight title fight at the O2 Arena in May

John Ryder’s trainer is hoping a new nutritional regime can revitalise the Islington star’s career as he prepares for his comeback fight this weekend.

Thu, 12:21
Arsenal Ladies' Jordan Nobbs battles with Kathleen Radtke of Manchester City Women (right) during the Gunners' 1-0 win in the Continental Cup

Midfielder Jordan Nobbs is determined to finish her frustrating season on a high by helping the Gunners to regain the Continental Cup.

Wed, 16:05
Jordan Grannum (red shorts) defeats William Warburton at the Camden Centre. Pic: Philip Sharkey/TGS Photo

Islington welterweight Jordan Grannum made a successful start to his professional career as he eased to a comfortable points win over William Warburton at York Hall.

Wed, 16:00
Highgate Harriers' Andy Maud. Pic: Dieter Perry

Andy Maud stole the show in only his second appearance for Highgate Harriers on Saturday, recording the best time of all the club runners at the National Six Stage Road Relays.

Wed, 15:50
Mile End (dark blue) lost 3-1 to Shakespeare in the Hackney & Leyton Sunday League.

Mile End remain top of the Hackney & Leyton League Premier Division despite losing 3-1 against a rejuvenated Shakespeare.

Wed, 15:46
Judo player Luca Veras (left) with Sensei Basil Dawkins

Islington youngster Luca Veras claimed his third consecutive gold medal on Sunday since graduating to red belt level in the summer.

Mon, 13:10
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game against Manchester United

What we predicted

Mon, 07:00
Arsenal's Hector Bellerin and Manchester United's Ashley Young battle for the ball (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was full of praise for Hector Bellerin after the full-back’s excellent performance in the win over Manchester United.

Most read sport


Angharad Baa Stool in Rare Breed.

Great British Life is offering a sheepskin footstool worth £199 to a lucky reader

You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Digital Edition

Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder