When Andre Santos came on to replace Kieran Gibbs against Liverpool, it quickly became apparent that he had no chance of representing Arsenal consistently over the rest of the season.
At 26-years-old he’s reaching the peak of his career and defensively, he’s as good as any other player that Arsenal could have gone and poached.
His positioning as a left back is superb. He is quick enough to take on the best wingers one-on-one, showing them down towards the corner flag and muting their effectiveness.
He’s also good enough to push in close to the left sided centre back which will help Arsenal nullify the threat of sides that prefer to play narrower and thread the ball through the middle e.g. Manchester City.
It doesn’t just stop with his defensive game because his attacking play as a full back is something which has won him three caps for Spain so far this season, notoriously one of the most difficult international sides to break into.
This is very significant as Arsenal don’t have a genuine left sided winger. It means they will be relying on Monreal to get forward and provide extra width when Arsenal are on the attack.
His pace and his fitness allow him to do this throughout a game because he can get back into position. It doesn’t take him a long time to bomb back down his side of the pitch to ensure that Arsenal’s back four will retain it shape.
He’s also got experience with 47 starts for all sides in all competitions over the last season and a half. This means Wenger can throw him straight into the team if he needs to.
He doesn’t need a settling in period because the role he’ll play at Arsenal is the exact same role that he has been playing for Malaga in La Liga.
Therefore, don’t be so quick to argue against this Arsenal fans because it could turn out to be one of Wenger’s best signings in recent history and a signing which could dramatically improve the quality and consistency of Gibbs.
As for Santos, well, he better get used to warming the bench or pick himself a nice seat in the stands.
Arsenal fans, what do you make of this signing?
image: © michael hilton