By Walter Broeckx
People who tried to understand what Wenger said during this transfer window knew that if we would bring in someone it would be player(s) from Spain or Germany. He openly said that those are the two countries with the best youth education system for the moment and that this was the place to search for good players. I think the record of their national teams speaks for itself as both are near or are the top in the last 10 years.
We ended up with a Spanish player who plays for Malaga: Ignacio (Nacho) Monreal Eraso. The Nacho is the commonly used abbreviation from Ignacio. A bit like someone who is named Anthony becomes Tony.
For the sake of if I will call him but his eaten name from now on, sorry nickname and just call him Nacho. After all we are going to be friends in the next seasons so as a friend I can call him Nacho I think.
Nacho is 26 years old and will be 27 later this month. So an early happy birthday to you from my part. He was born in Pamplona in Spain. Pamplona is a city in the Bask region of Spain so people from there will say he is a Bask. In fact we already have one Bask at Arsenal. Mikel Arteta who is born in San Sebastian.
For those not knowing where the Bask region is I can tell you it is in the North West of Spain. That part of Spain between France and Portugal one could say. And to make things more funny I can tell you that Santi Cazorla is not a Bask (as far as I know) but he is from Asturia and this region of Spain is also situated next to the Bask region. So we now have 3 Spanish players and all from the North West of Spain. I don’t know if that helped him for signing up with Arsenal but I think he will have two players from the same region around it so I can imagine they will be helping him to find his way at Arsenal.
And with another Bask around him, with his former team mate around him I can imagine Nacho getting the help he will need to adapt to the PL to live in London and to England.
But we are not here to talk about Spanish regions but let me add that those regions are the rather “cold” regions from Spain. Colder and wetter for Spanish norms of course. So this might help them adapt better to the colder and wetter English climate a bit.
Let us talk about football now. Nacho is a left back who started his career at Osasuna Pamplona. The first Spanish team I saw live at my local team when it still was playing in the top of Belgium football. Still remember it was 2-2 the final score. And still remember me going to Barcelona on a holiday a few weeks later in September and (sorry to admit it now) going to see Barcelona play in the Spanish league in a home game against…Osasuna Pamplona. Final score … 2-2. Does this mean that my local team was as strong as Barcelona in those days?
He played 5 season for his local team Osasuna and then went off to Malaga in 2011. He started his career at the same time as Santi Cazorla over there. And now joins him at Arsenal a few months after Cazorla. He played 127 games for Osasuna and scored 3 goals in those games. Not a lot but left backs usually don’t score a lot.
He was the regular left back for Malaga also scoring one goal in some 42 games. So every 40 games he will score the odd goal. But his main job is to defend the left flank of course.
He also got 9 selections for the Spanish national team. If you see that players like Arteta, Michu and a few others never were called up for the Spanish team it should mean that he isn’t a bad player at all. Unless of course we think that the Spanish coach is a useless person who knows nothing about football.
At Malaga he and Santi played that well (along with 9 others of course) and so they reached the CL this season. Then their rich owner didn’t stump up the cash anymore and as a result Santi Cazorla came to us. But despite that Malaga still are 4th in the Spanish league and have topped their CL group. A group with AC Milan and Zenith St. Petersburg and Anderlecht. Finish on top of that group is rather good I would think for a team in financial turmoil.
So a player from Malaga and Spain cannot be a bad player. Well that is what I think but what do I know of course.
He should be 1,79 meter big in Spain but somehow when in English he is only 1.78. Did he shrink on the plane? But that is around the same height as Gibbs. More or less.
Of course we wouldn’t be Arsenal if we bought a player that was never mentioned amongst the 80 or so names that were linked to Arsenal. So all the media and the ITK (In The Knows) proved that they know nothing. Could call them ITKN where the last N stands for Nothing. It also took a lot of time before all the “i” were dotted and so. Much to a desperate twitter world that I was following with amazement.
So a target that was kept under the radar of other clubs till the last minute so nobody could step in and hijack the deal and as a result we don’t know much about him. As he played a Belgium team twice this season and our TV channel paid some attention to Malaga as they played Anderlecht in the CL group (to be honest I didn’t watch them all as I am not interest in Anderlecht at all) and so I could find some people who remembered a bit about him.
Their conclusion was : a skilful player, rather fast, good pass, good crosser and very focussed. One said a typical Arsenal left back. So I think we can expect him to join the attack a bit in a Gibbs way. Not in the Santos way.
About his character I know one thing. I know he is a brave person. I just know it because he signed for Arsenal. Because you have to be brave to come to a club where a part of the supporters is waiting for the first misplaced pass, the first mistakes (and according to the medical he is made from flesh and blood so human) to be torn to pieces by the “it’s never good enough” part of our fans. So he is not just taking the other teams on but also has to take on a part of the fans who are very critical for each and every error.
But Nacho I just want to let you know that there are other supporters. There are may Arsenal supporters out there who want you all the best. Who want you to succeed in your Arsenal career. And we (and I count myself amongst them) will do all we can to help you in your career at Arsenal. We will be cheering you on even when things don’t go your way.
Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for all of us to just support you in making this big and difficult step in your career.
All the best Nacho and a warm welcome to the mighty Gunners from Untold Arsenal.