According to reports from Spain, Real Sociedad are interested in signing Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal this summer.
The Spain international is a firm favourite at the Emirates Stadium but will turn 33 before the end of next season and his contract only has a year left to run – making this summer the ideal time for Sociedad to tempt the north Londoners into selling.
Monreal’s departure will no doubt split opinion in some quarters, but what are the possible ramifications?
Football FanCast take a look at three consequences – some positive, some negative – of the veteran full-back’s potential exit…
It was a strange debut season for Kolasinac last time out. He started with a fine flurry of form and goals but suddenly lost his place after Arsene Wenger changed back to a four-man defence and his performances after generally left much to be desired.
Considering how highly-rated the Bosnian was before he moved to the Emirates Stadium though, claiming a place in the Bundesliga Team of the Season, he seems nailed on to be given the chance to prove himself as a regular starter should Monreal depart this summer.
It’s certainly cheaper than signing a direct replacement for Monreal, and after having a year to acclimatise himself in English football we might start seeing the Kolasinac who earned such rave reviews with Schalke. There are definite weaknesses to the 25-year-old’s game though, so it’s a question of how willing he is to improve and make an impression on the new manager.
It’s certainly understandable that Emery is looking to overhaul Arsenal’s defence this summer and has already made some headway in that process, bringing in Stephan Lichtsteiner and goalkeeper Bernd Leno, after the Gunners conceded a whopping 51 times in the Premier League last season. But there’s a danger in going too far the other way – completely rebuilding the defence to create something that’s unfamiliar and lacking structure.
That’s probably what Monreal offers the new Arsenal boss most at this moment in time; as well as experience and consistency, he can bring real continuity to that department of the team, which should help the likes of impending signing Sokratis integrate into the first team far more quickly. Monreal is an important figure in the dressing room and a particularly crucial done during this period of inevitable transition.
Maitland-Niles showed increasingly convincing glimpses of his natural talent last season, but the midfielder’s first Premier League outings for the Gunners bizarrely came at left-back. A prospect of his age should be looking to get minutes wherever they can but it’s clear Maitland-Niles’ future lays in the engine room, where he can use his exciting energy and technical quality.
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The concern though, is whether Emery will end up following Wenger’s lead in using the 20-year-old in a lesser-favoured role, simply because of the needs of the squad. Curiously, Arsenal haven’t been linked with any left-backs, at least not convincingly, since Emery’s arrival and it’s even claimed the Spaniard’s lack of interest in signing one could ultimately prevent Monreal’s departure.
Emery doesn’t have much money to work with this summer, so deputising for Kolasinac may well end up being Maitland-Niles’ primary duty for much of his first season under the new Gunners gaffer. That’s an almighty waste of the youngster’s huge potential, but needs must.
So, Arsenal fans, should your club cash-in on Monreal? Let us know by voting below…