Arsenal Have Barcelona Fight On Their Hands To Keep Star Defender
The era of Unai Emery has only just begun, but the Spaniard has done an admirable job keeping the ranks together.
No major departures were forthcoming in the summer, and despite opening back-to-back losses against the two previous Premier League champions Manchester City and Chelsea, supporters are taking the positives, such as the coherency in attack and the fluidity between star men Alexandre Lacazette
A distinct point of criticism however has been the Gunners’ stability at the back, having failed to keep a clean sheet thus far and conceding the third most goals in the league.
Reports then that La Liga champions Barcelona are interested in acquiring left-back Nacho Montreal brings a certain cause for concern.
The Mirror suggests that Barca will make a move for the 32 year-old in January. With Arsenal only competing in the Europa League this season, it would also make him eligible for the Champions League run should Barcelona progress into the knock-out stages.
Monreal has been an interesting figure to analyse at the Emirates. His first season since signing for £8.5million from Malaga in 2013 was unmemorable to say the least, but has grown in both confidence, and certain amount of faith from the Arsenal devotee. Last year he recorded his best ever goal tally at the club, with 5 goals, but his standout season undoubtedly came in the 2015/16 season, when the Gunners managed to keep 17 clean-sheets with him missing all but one game in the full domestic league season, made his second highest tackle success (70%) and won his most duels.
Arsenal will to wary of letting him go, with Sead Kolasinac currently out with a knee injury for the foreseeable future, and the Spaniard is currently in talks with Arsenal in extending his contract, which expires at the end of the current season. Unai Emery himself has been outspoken in his praise of the player.
Since Lucas Digne was sold to Everton in August, Barcelona have been depleted of options at left-back and bringing a player - and a Spaniard at that - with a wealth of experience who can sporadically shine would go someway to solidifying to blaugrana defence.
Whilst Jordi Alba is expected to retain his place in the Barcelona XI, Monreal would be a very well-versed back-up. Furthermore, with Alba out of favour with new Spain coach Luis Enrique, Montreal could see it as a chance to seize a bit of the spotlight and put him in contention for a starting place for La Roja.