The Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal insists that he is happy at Arsenal and plans to fight for his place in the starting XI. He had an impactful season last year and hopes to replicate the form that appears to have prompted clubs in Spain to sit up and take notice.
The claim comes at a time when there is speculation around the future of Monreal at the Emirates Stadium. Monreal joined Arsenal in 2013 and the 29-year-old is continuously linked with a return to Spain. In the recent weeks, there were reports that the Basque club Athletic Bilbao were interested in making a move for the Spanish international. But, Monreal quashed any such rumours and reiterated that he is happy to stay at Arsenal.
“I’m very happy at Arsenal,” Monreal told Goal. “Of course I enjoyed playing in a lot of the games last season and that is the target again – that is all I can say right now.
“When you play for Arsenal, you know they are one of the biggest clubs in England but, here in Singapore, you see they are also one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“The reception we get from the fans everywhere we go is amazing to see for the players and we are very happy to be here with them.”
Last season, Monreal capitalized on the poor form and fitness of the regular left-back Kieran Gibbs to make an impression on Arsene Wenger. He made 39 appearances in all competitions and was selected ahead of Gibbs even after he made a comeback from injury. For the FA Cup final win against Aston Villa too, Monreal played ahead of Gibbs.
However, there were rumours that he would prefer a move back to his home land and that he would be open to a move to Athletic. The Basque side club generally prefers to sign players from the same region. But, Monreal shrugged off those suggestions and is now focused on keeping his place in the starting XI.
Monreal isn’t one of those solid performers who enthrall the supporters. Nevertheless, he is a steady performer and has learned from his initial hardships at the club. There were matches where he had trouble with the pace of the forwards and was caught off position. But, to his credit, Monreal improved and made Wenger give him a chance. And once he got that chance to be a starter, he made it his own.
The Spanish international is surprised at the reception for the club in Singapore. He understands that Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in England but landing in Singapore made him realize how big the club is in this part of the world.
He is also happy to see Cech come into the side and integrate with the group so fast. Monreal is quick to acknowledge the positive impact of Cech’s signing on the entire squad and is too eager to wait for the season to start.