The January transfer window closed yesterday and surprised, surprised – we signed someone. With the entire month to do business, it only happened on the final day. Personally, I wanted to see more investment (more players) than just the one and I’m sure there will be plenty who will agree with me. We are still looking understaffed in the goalkeeping, centre-back and striking department, despite the defiance of Arsene Wenger to stress otherwise.
Left back is Ignacio “Nacho” Monreal Eraso is the only new recruit, signed on the final day of the window. He comes from Malaga and a full international with Spain. Santi Cazorla will surely approved of this new purchase, having been team mates before. I wonder how much our diminutive playmaker was involved in providing an opinion or persuading Monreal to pack his bags and move to England. At just over 8 million, it does look like Wenger picked up another bargain from the financially troubled club.
You will not get an informed opinion from me about Monreal. While, I do watch quite a bit of La Liga, Malaga’s matches never did appeal to me. From what I’ve read here and here, we seemed to have gotten ourselves a tough tackler who equally comfortable in possession of the ball. Getting him acclimatised to the team wouldn’t be the hardest job in the world as Monreal would be familiar with the style of play that we use. Seeing how important the full backs are in the way we play, hopefully he will be able to live up to expectation.
Expectation could vary from being a first team starter to just being better than Andre Santos. It would be puzzling for Monreal to move over here if he’s only guaranteed a back-up role to Kieran Gibbs. At the moment, given Gibb’s performances this season, the Englishman has to be the first pick. If Monreal does displace Gibbs in the starting line-up based on his performances, then so be it. As it stands, the transfer does not mean a whole lot of positives for the other left back though.
Santos is still with us as the window closed yesterday but it doesn’t look like he’s rated by the manager any longer. Which comes off as no real surprise to most fans. The Brazilian endeared himself to the Gooner legion with enterprising displays last season but have since drop a few levels in his output. How he will be affected by the arrival of Monreal remains to be seen but I don’t expect him to have his confidence boosted by it. I’m also not sure if there’s another position more suitable for him in the team. We need the whole team to defend better, not just the defenders and we can’t carry passengers around.
The timing of the transfer have to be questioned though (although there are some who are reporting that we have been interested in Monreal for some time; some even suggested this was supposed to be a summer deal but brought forward). If he is in the works for this particular window, why didn’t we get him earlier? Not that if affected our games, for Gibbs was available before. The timing does look like a reactionary purchase, that being reactive to the injury suffered by Gibbs during the midweek draw with Liverpool. If the manager doesn’t have confidence in Santos stepping in, then why wait until the end of the window? It’s not as if Gibbs have an unquestionable healthy fitness record.
That said, I’m glad to see the manager making his moves swiftly and did not repeat what happened with Alex Song. We all heard/read what he said after selling Song, that a replacement will be brought in. That never happened. The realisation that we are short in numbers in that area and move to rectify it. At least it shows that the manager is not as stubborn in the belief of his players as he has shown in the past.
So that’s it. The window is now over and there’s no point bleating about who we’ve missed out (why not Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa!!!!!!!!??????) and who we could have signed. From now until the end of the season, we can only use the players we have. The team will get my (and hopefully yours too) support throughout the rest of this season. Should we fail to achieve what we set out to do, then serious questions need to be asked about the transfers dealing, or lack of.
Everyone had their food related Nacho joke yet?