Nacho Monreal has arguably grown into not just one of the most consistent players at Arsenal but in the entire league since moving to the Gunners back in 2013.
Monreal was considered a strange buy from Spanish side Malaga back in the January transfer window of 2013 and although he had a relatively slow start to his Arsenal career, largely due to communication and adapting to a new style of play, Monreal has since grown into one of the most reliable players on the pitch.
Surely named as one of the first players on the teamsheet week in week out, Monreal is at the peak of his career right now and we have seen that on the pitch, especially in the past two seasons. Kieran Gibbs had maintained the left back position for a number of seasons without being challenged and I always thought he was a pretty decent left back. However now Gibbs can’t get a look in compared to the ability of Monreal, so much so that apparently Gibbs is considering moving away from Arsenal.
Monreal shows strength, confidence and ability at both ends of the pitch because he recognises when it’s safe to join the attack rather just racing forward like some full backs do. Experience dictates what decisions he makes and we have seen that whilst his defensive duties are always on point, he can also whip a good cross in, as well as occasionally have a crack at goal.
In a recent interview Monreal was asked about how he feels now that he is settled in and fully integrated into the starting eleven. Monreal told Arsenal.com: “When you’re young you just have so much energy and you feel great. As soon as you finish one match you can’t wait to play the next because you recover really quickly. On the other hand you lack experience. With time you lose a bit of physical fitness but you gain huge experience. You understand far better where to place the ball, how to read the game and what the team needs. I feel I am at a point now where I am combining well those two elements.”
At 30 years old Monreal is truly at the peak of his career and his experience has already shown these past two years, as he rarely makes a wrong decision on the pitch. The sad thing is is that we shall only get a few more years out of Monreal at his highest ability, before age starts to play a part on his style of play, at which point Arsenal will have to consider whether Gibbs (if he’s still with us) is ready to retake his position, or if a new player is needed. Perhaps that’s why Ricardo Rodriguez is being linked with the Gunners, as they look for a replacement sooner rather than later.