With just hours remaining before the winter transfer window closes, Arsenal have struck a massive deal to acquire Malaga defender Nacho Monreal. Fox Soccer reported that the two sides came to an agreement on transfer terms earlier Thursday, with Arsenal's official website later announcing that the club and player came to personal terms at the 11th hour:
Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Spanish international defender Nacho Monreal has agreed to join the Gunners on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee.
A 26-year-old left-back, Monreal has been nothing short of fantastic since joining the Spanish outfit back in 2011. He quickly ascended up most pundits' rankings among elite defenders, with an innate defensive intelligence and ability to help out on the attack. Monreal had four assists during the 2011-12 season for Malaga and already has a goal and two assists during this season.
While his transfer could puzzle some for purely on-field purposes, mitigating financial troubles have forced Malaga to sell off assets while they hemorrhage funds. They've had to make tough choices between stars of the present and the future, and it seems Monreal simply wasn't in their plans.
What's more, Monreal hasn't been what one would call reliable at staying on the pitch. He appeared in just two Champions League games this past fall due to injury, and has started only 14 of 21 matches in La Liga this season as well.
Nevertheless, his long track record of strong play in La Liga undoubtedly makes Monreal a massive late-window coup for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger's side has needed help on the defense for much of the season, and Monreal is being acquired right about when he should hit his true prime.
Malaga needed money, while Arsenal needed defense. Losing Monreal may not be what fans of the Spanish outfit wanted, but this deal seems beneficial for both sides.