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Wenger backs Arsenal new boy Monreal to develop attacking threat

Nacho Monreal, Arsenal. Photo: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire Nacho Monreal, Arsenal. Photo: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
3:15 PM

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels Spain international Nacho Monreal will soon develop into as potent an attacking threat down the flank as he is reliable at the back.

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The 27-year-old arrived at the Emirates Stadium on January transfer deadline day in an £8.5million deal from Malaga, which so far looks a more than sound investment.

The defender, standing in for injured England left-back Kieran Gibbs, produced solid displays in his first taste of Barclays Premier League action against Stoke and at Sunderland, before showing glimpses of his forward ability when his run and cross set up a late winner for Santi Cazorla against Aston Villa.

Wenger is confident with time, Monreal will provide another outlet to the Gunners’ many attacking options.

“The first thing you want from your defenders is to defend well, so we cannot reproach him for that. You will see the other aspects of his game more when his confidence has settled,” Wenger said in the March edition of the official Arsenal magazine.

“He is good in the air for a guy of his size, has a quick leap and has looked good.

“Monreal is very strong in other areas too, his crosses for example, and his forward play you will see a bit later.

“It happened with Kieran Gibbs too, the more confident he became the more efficient he was going forward.

“It can take a bit if time to express that side.”

Wenger continued: “There is no better culture shock than to play against Stoke and Sunderland.

“He has not said a word to me about it, but he has spoken with the other players and he has seen all about the passion and commitment of the English game. You can say Nacho Monreal passed that test.”

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.