This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
As confirmed on Arsenal’s official club website, Nacho Monreal has joined Real Sociedad on a permanent transfer.
The Spain international joined the Gunners from La Liga side Malaga in January 2013, and made 251 appearances for the club, scoring 10 goals.
The versatile 33-year-old spent the majority of his Arsenal career at left-back, but provided able cover as a centre-half too.
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Unai Emery started Monreal in the Gunners’ first three Premier League games of the season, but his departure means he will not play a part in the north London derby against Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.
Just one day before one of the biggest games of the season for the club, and the Gunners have opted to confirm Monreal’s exit. The timing is bizarre to say the least. The Spaniard had been an ever-present for the north London side and was trusted lieutenant of Emery’s following the manager’s arrival last summer.
The 33-year-old is reliable defensively and would have undoubtedly been a safer option against Spurs than Sead Kolasinac. For all of the latter’s qualities going forward, chalking up seven Premier League assists throughout his career, his style of play comes with big question marks about how he does going back towards his own goal.
Couldn’t the Gunners simply have waited until the north London derby was over before giving the green-light to Monreal leaving? Reports claim that Sociedad are paying just a minimal amount to take him back to Spain, and so a move collapsing due to a possible injury would not have robbed Arsenal of big-money. Instead, they would have stood to gain on the pitch.
Monreal could have helped lead the side to victory against Spurs, before waving goodbye to the Emirates faithful. But because of some questionable decision-making, the Gunners head into the game without their best left-back.