Gunners leave it late to bring in Monreal

Arsenal broke with tradition to make a last-minute purchase last night, and the Gunners are now looking to cash in against Stoke tomorrow.

With defensive numbers thin in the ground, manager Arsene Wenger made an out-of-character deadline-beating buy as he paid an undisclosed fee to Malaga for full-back Nacho Monreal.

The 26-year-old Spain international has penned a long-term deal and will plug the gap left by Kieran Gibbs, who was ruled out for three weeks after injuring his thigh during Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

A number of defensive collapses left Arsenal 2-0 down during that game, only for Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott to pull them out of trouble and, according to the latter, they need to take that momentum into tomorrow’s game with the Potters.

“We are at home, we are very strong and we need to pick up three points rather than a point,” Walcott said on Arsenal Player.

“If we show the performance from the second half [against Liverpool] then I am sure we will beat them.”

Wenger felt his side were “too nervous” at the back against Liverpool, something which has become an alarming trait in recent games.

German forward Lukas Podolski understands the collective need for firing on all cylinders right from kick-off.

“It is a problem in the last matches that we are losing a goal and then coming from behind,” he said.

“We must start strong from the first minute and score the first goal.

“In the last few weeks that has always been the problem, that we have to fight and come back.

“However, when you are 2-0 down and you come back like against Liverpool it feels like three points, and this is the way we have been playing recently.”

The acquisition of Monreal should at least shore up Wenger’s defence.

“We are delighted that Nacho Monreal has agreed to join us. We have been monitoring him for some time now and are really pleased that we’ve been able to agree this move,” the Frenchman said.

“Monreal is a strong left-sided defender with good experience at both club and international level. He is a technically gifted player, a good crosser in the final third and strong in the air. Monreal will add quality to our squad and of course, to our defensive unit. We all look forward to him playing for us.”

The deal remains subject to the completion of what the club describe as a formal registration process, but does represent an unusual move from Wenger.

He has rarely dealt so close to the deadline, but the injury suffered by Gibbs last night seems to have forced his hand.

Monreal, a former Osasuna academy graduate, signed for Malaga for £6million in 2011 after making an impression with his hometown club, for whom he made 127 appearances.

He made his debut for Spain in a 2009 friendly against Macedonia and has gone on to win nine caps for the national side.

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