This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Former Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal has said that he did not need to think twice about joining Arsenal in 2013.
Monreal, 33, departed the club last summer after agreeing to move to Real Sociedad after six and a half seasons at the Emirates.
The Spaniard told Mundo Deportivo (via football.london) how his move to Arsenal happened and how he struggled during the first 12 months.
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“Yes, no doubt (I was right to join Arsenal). I was very happy in Malaga. But the club had financial needs and problems with the sheikh. I was the third to go after (Santi) Cazorla and (Salomon) Rondon.
“Besides, when Arsenal calls, you don’t think about it. I said yes immediately.
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“The beginning was difficult. I was very shy; a new country, a new language, new culture, players I didn’t know. It became very hard. I suffered for the first 12 months.
“But I acclimatised to the city, the club and English football and my memories are wonderful. Even being captain of Arsenal. A pride.”
Within a side that boasted the likes of prime Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, Monreal found himself to be the polar opposite of those names as an unspectacular, no-frills defender that got through games with just hard work and determination.
Former Arsenal legend Ian Wright branded the Spaniard as a “total professional” and someone who always gave 100% during matches.
Monreal was always on the left side on the back four and was well known for operating as a wing-back with his efforts going forward. His best season came during the 2017/18 campaign, with five goals and two assists in the Premier League.
His commanding presence and his capabilities at the back saw him take the captain’s armband and demand more of a leadership role, as he told the club’s official website.
The gap that Monreal left was quickly filled with the arrival of Kieran Tierney from Celtic, but his latest comments are just another reminder of the kind of player he was for the club, perhaps under-appreciated considering his passion for the badge and exploits on the pitch.