Tag Archives: She Wore a Yellow a Ribbon

Gentleman’s agreement opens door to Monreal exit from Arsenal

The news that Nacho Monreal is off to Real Sociedad is a surprise for many after he started all 3 of Arsenal’s Premier League games this season, but there is a clear and obvious explanation in his departure this summer.

Monreal quietly renewed his contract for an extra year earlier this year. There were rumours that it was done, but no announcement, no fanfare.

It was only really confirmed on the last day of the seasons when the club said goodbye to Pete Cech, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck. Monreal did not get the big goodbye.

There seems to be an agreement between the Spaniard and the Arsenal hierarchy when he signed on for another year.

Arsenal were targeting a new left back, but wanted Monreal to stay on just incase they could not secure their man.

Monreal was happy to stay, but also wanted to play. If a new left back came in he would be 3rd choice, with Sead Kolasinac staying at the club.

So an agreement was struck.

Monreal would sign a new one year deal, but if Arsenal signed a new left back, they would accept any reasonable offers for their loyal servant.

Once Kieran Tierney was signed, time was ticking down on Monreal’s Arsenal career.

At 33, the curtain is clearly coming down on Monreal’s career. But he still wants to play football.

The easy option would have been to stay at Arsenal for another 1 or 2 years, not playing and banking millions. But Monreal is a proper professional.

Signed from Malaga in January 2013 for £8.5m, Monreal quickly became a fan favourite.

A defensive full back in an era of attacking players, did not have the pace of a Gael Clichy. However he was a better defender and put in a better cross.

He saw off the challenge of Kieran Gibbs and has played 250 times for Arsenal.

Even when Kolasinac came in, he never complained. He raised his game, regained his place and even reinvented himself as a central defender on the left of a 4 as Arsenal won the FA Cup.

He returns to Spain knowing that he made the most of his talent. He leaves with his head held high knowing he was heavily involved in 3 FA Cup wins and 250 games.

The fact he agreed to a new deal despite knowing Arsenal were trying to replace him shows his character.

He was willing to sacrifice a move to Spain to help the club out. To delay things for a year just in case Arsenal couldn’t sign a defender. It would have been easier to turn that contract down and move.

I wish him well in Spain in the twilight of his career and he leaves knowing that he has contributed to The Arsenal and is always welcome back.

Nacho, thanks for the memories.


Why haven’t Arsenal signed a senior centre back?

“We need defenders” is the reply by many to posts about Nicolas Pepe.

Some Arsenal fans are confused as to why we are spending big on one of the most exciting attacking players in Europe whilst neglecting a creaking defence which still contains Shkodran Mustafi. The answer is simple.

Arsenal need to sell before they can buy.

We do not need to sell because we need the money; we need to sell because we have too many defenders.

Shkodran Mustafi
Rob Holding
Laurent Koscielny
Calum Chambers
Kostadinos Mavropanos

As it stands, we have 6 central defenders in our senior squad.

Now you can moan about the quality of those, and any moaning would be justified, but the problem Arsenal face is were we to buy a new face without selling, it would leave us with 7 centre backs. Last season we had 5.

In a balanced squad, you do not need 7 central defenders. Five is probably the maximum.

Last season we went into the season with 5 centre backs: Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding, Koscielny & Mavropanos. Chambers spent the season on loan at Fulham.

Mavropanos played just 4 games all season, despite Holding & Koscielny both having long absences and Arsenal going to 3 at the back at times. Holding started just 9 Premier League games.

We clearly do not need 7 centre backs.

So Arsenal need to sell before they can buy, which is easier said than done.

Before pre-season started, Arsenal would have been looking to move on Chambers and Mustafi – the pair would have commanded over £40million between them.

This would have left Arsenal with 4 centre backs – Sokratis (who would start), Holding (who is injured), Koscielny (who is a faded force) and Mavropanos (unproven), leaving us plenty of space for a 5th choice to partner Sokratis.

Fast forward a year, Koscielny leaves and William Slaiba comes in to replace him.

And then Koscielny decided he no longer wanted to play for Arsenal, leaving the best laid plans in ruins.

With Koscielny likely to leave, it means Arsenal have to keep hold of either Chambers or Mustafi. The clubs preference is likely Chambers as he is:

  1. Home grown
  2. Younger
  3. More versatile

The problem is no bids have come in for Mustafi, and this is what is causing the club staff a head ache.

If Arsenal could get rid of Mustafi, they could then go ahead and sign a new central defender. That would then allow us to give Koscielny his wish – a return to France.

As it stands, Mustafi is going nowhere, which will leave Arsenal having to sell Chambers or, worst case scenario, keep both and lose Koscielny


In memory of Jose Reyes; let’s stop abusing footballers

The death of Jose Antonio Reyes has hit everyone in football. Shocking news to try and digest on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

It is a reminder to everyone how fragile life is.

Bill Shankly was wrong. Football is not more important than life or death.

Reyes death should be a reminder to everyone to be kinder. He had a tough time at Arsenal. After a solid start he was booted out of a game against Manchester United and never really recovered. After this game he became one of those players the crowd loved to get on the back of.

Were he to be at Arsenal in the current era, he would have received a lot of abuse on social media from fan.

Criticising players is fine. Nothing wrong with it. But abuse is wrong and often crosses the line.

It was not too long ago that fans were standing outside the Emirates singing about wishing death on Arsene Wenger. Following the loss to Chelsea, I saw one fan post up a picture of the Munich disaster with the comment “we need Arsenal’s version of this, with Emery and Cech in the front seat”.

Granit Xhaka recently came off social media due to the volume of death threats he receive. Shkodran Mustafi has also received death threats in recent weeks.

Whilst I am sure these death threats may not have been made with the intention of carrying through, it is still clearly wrong. I remember a few years ago someone said they would “find me and slit my throat”. I did not take it seriously but it still was not very nice.

We have also seen a lot of online abuse aimed at Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi and more. No one seems to be immune.

If you do anything in memory of Reyes, be kinder.

Criticism is fine; abuse is not

RIP Jose Antonio Reyes