Arsene Wenger has revealed the seriousness of the injury to Kieran Gibbs was a factor in the signing of Nacho Monreal from Malaga, but also that the player’s versatility could be beneficial between now and the end of the season.
Speaking at his pre-Orc press conference, the manager explained, “Our scouts have followed his progress for a while and of course we had a blow with the Gibbs injury, which is a bit longer than expected,.
“We expected two to three weeks, but it will be four to six, so we were in a position where we had to make a quick decision. That explains our buy.
“We bought Monreal as a left back but he can play as well as a left-sided midfielder. We bought him as well because we believe he can integrate into our style of play and adapt very quickly to that.
“He has the characteristics to play our game because he is very mobile, has a good left foot and is very good in combination play. That is vital in our style of play.”
The boss also backed under fire Brazilian Andre Santos, who has become something of a lightning rod for criticism of Arsenal’s defence. Although Mertesacker and Vermaelen were clearly more culpable for Arsenal’s concession of goals againt Liverpool, Santos took a lot of the flak and when asked if he felt the criticism was unfair, Wenger replied:
“Yes, because if you watch the game again and you analyse very well his performance, you will be less critical. He is a style of player who needs competition because he is not a nervous type of player, he is a stamina type of player and get sharper through competition.
“Kieran Gibbs will be out for the Champions League because we are only three weeks away from Bayern now. I will not play Monreal, Santos could have a key role.”
Obviously the Brazilian needs to raise his game, and with the Monreal signing is unlikely to feature that heavily, but when needed let’s hope he can do a job.
Pic via Stuart MacFarlane