There’s no sugar coating it, these are uncertain times for Arsenal.
Unai Emery continues to mould the Gunners around a new set of players in his image – a positive step after two decades of Wenger-centric…well, everything. However, the sale of one of the most consistent performers at the club for over half a decade could turn out to be a step too far from the Spanish boss.
Nacho Monreal has joined Real Sociedad for a reported £3m in a move that will only create further instability in north London.
While the Spanish left-back is clearly past his prime at 33 years old and Arsenal do have other options to fill in the vacant spot in the starting lineup, the experience and stability brought by Monreal will be a big miss for the club.
The sale would have gone under the radar in the general scheme of things had it not been for the events that have taken place at the Emirates earlier on this summer. With Aaron Ramsey joining Juventus on a free and Laurent Koscielny parting ways to Bordeaux in unfortunately bitter circumstances, Arsenal have lost some of their longest serving players (and goodbye Carl Jenkinson, of course).
While Emery’s vision is commendable, and he is evidently going about things in the right way, another season of overlap between the new and the old would have gone a long way in creating a smooth transition at the Emirates.
Instead, defensive cracks can once again be seen at Arsenal with the sale of the man who made over 250 appearances for the club.
With £25m signing Kieran Tierney still recovering from an operation, it is likely that Sead Kolasinac will start in this weekend’s clash with bitter rivals Tottenham. In a match where Spurs are going to pose dangerous threats going forward, the incredibly attack-minded Bosnian may not be the best option for Emery, who will likely want to play with four at the back in front of the home crowd.
Even when the 22-year-old has returned to full fitness though, the Gunners will be short of confidence in the position. The ex-Celtic Scot has great pace and an eye for a pass, but may struggle against world class wingers while he learns his trade in the Premier League.
The gaps in the Arsenal defence were on show for all to see against Liverpool on Saturday. It may have been Emery’s tactics to focus on the middle of the park, but Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson seemed to have all the time in the world to pick out the perfect cross time and again.
Yes, Monreal was a part of that defence up at Anfield. However surely by replacing him – for now at least – with a less reliable Kolasinac, these holes across Arsenal’s back line will only get bigger?
With Ainsley Maitland-Niles currently filling in for Hector Bellerin on the other side of the defence, it looks like Arsenal are only really going to have two defenders on the pitch in the upcoming north London derby – and that’s if you count David Luiz as a defender.
The Gunners could do with a player who has six and a half seasons at the Emirates under his belt against Mauricio Pochettino’s side on Sunday, and for the rest of the season.
In a time where creative destruction is taking place at the hands of their Spanish boss, a figurehead of calm and collected defending would have been a huge benefit to a shaky Arsenal defence.
Source : 90min