One of Arsenal’s most experienced stars has revealed that he’s planning to stay at the club, despite the north London club’s interest in signing his replacement.
Arsenal star Nacho Monreal revealed in an exclusive interview with Mirror Football, that he is hoping to stay with the Gunners next season following uncertainty over his future in north London this summer.
It seems as though Monreal will play a much lesser role for the side next season, given Arsenal’s pursuit of Celtic star Kieran Tierney, according to the Sun, Arsenal made a £25m bid to Celtic for the talented youngster on Friday night.
The Hoops star has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium, where he would be expected to leapfrog Monreal and become the Gunners’ starting left-back.
Despite rumours intensifying over Tierney’s signing, and the fact that the veteran has been linked with a move back to Spain – Monreal insisted that he would like to “stay here”, the 33-year-old even suggested that he’d like to become captain of the side next season.
Here’s what Monreal told the Mirror’s John Cross regarding his future in north London:
“I belong at Arsenal. I still have a contract. My idea is to stay here. It’s a great club and I feel really comfortable playing for Arsenal. My idea is to continue playing here.”
“I’m not worried. I trust in the club.”
“Obviously, a few players decided to retire. Petr Cech, [Stephan] Lichtsteiner, and other players changed. That’s how it works in football. One day you’re here, then you’re in another place. But 100 per cent the club is looking for new players. They will come.”
Monreal has also suggested that he would like club captain Laurent Koscielny to stay with the Gunners, despite the fact that he’s caused a major controversy with his request to leave the north London club.
Monreal rotated with Sead Kolasinac for the Gunners at left-back last season, but the pair were equally unflattering which will have undoubtedly sparked Unai Emery’s interest in Tierney.
Whilst the star is approaching the end of his playing career, he still has the tools to be a valuable player for the Gunners given his versatility – the Spaniard has often featured at centre-back when called upon and that is where Emery is facing a crisis next season.
Club captain Laurent Koscielny has angered fans with his decision to go on strike in a bid to secure an exit from the Emirates Stadium, Germany international Shkodran Mustafi looks seriously out of his depth at the centre of defence and Rob Holding – who impressed for the side last season, is currently recovering from a long-term injury.
Monreal has shown himself to be a model professional during his time in north London and it’s not surprising to see the Spain international throw his hat into the ring as potential captain for the side:
“Two captains left last season [Cech and Aaron Ramsey, who has joined Juventus as a free agent]. If I have to be one of the captains I will be very proud. Being one of the captains of Arsenal is to feel proud, we’re talking about one of the great clubs and I will accept it of course.
“This season is very important. We need to finish in the top four, the club needs that. The club needs it mainly for the money, then we’ll have more options to bring in other players and come back to where Arsenal belong. I hope we do it.”
Quotes obtained from the Mirror.
Monreal is a experienced pro and he would be a worthy contended for Arsenal’s captaincy, however, given his reduced role for the team, the Spaniard will likely be tasked with showing his leadership abilities off the pitch and he’ll be one of the club’s longest-serving stars that will be expected to maintain harmony in the dressing room.
One thing’s for certain and that is Arsenal’s desperate need for defensive reinforcements this summer, the side will have no chance of battling for a Champions League spot if they can’t manage to tighten things up at the back.