Nacho Monreal says Arsenal are only now realising how good Arsene Wenger was and calls Arteta a leader

Nacho Monreal says Arsenal are only now realising how good legendary former manager Arsene Wenger was during his time at the club, according to the Telegraph

The 34-year-old was brought to North London by Wenger in January 2013 and spent six-and-a-half years at the club. The Spaniard scored ten goals and provided 20 assists in 251 appearances for the Gunners. The Frenchman was the manager of Arsenal for a majority of the time Monreal spent at the club. 

Arsene Wenger was the manager of Arsenal for 22 years and during his time at the club, he won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups. Pressure mounted on him towards the end of his time at the club and after fan protests reached fever pitch, the Frenchman left the Emirates in the summer of 2018.

During his time in North London, he failed to guide the Gunners into the top four of the Premier League just two times over his 22-year reign.

A top four finish was always seen as failure by a majority of Gooners during his time at the club but today most fans would give anything for a place in the Champions League.

Since his departure, the Gunners have failed to qualify for the Champions League and currently sit in 10th place in the Premier League. They seem bereft of quality and any sense of identity.

It is true that Mikel Arteta seems full of promise but these last few years have offered Arsenal fans the opportunity to recalibrate the appreciation they feel for Wenger and what he achieved in North London.

Monreal was a loyal servant to the club and one of Wenger’s key lieutenants. He feels that the club is only now starting to realise Wenger’s massive contribution. He said:

“His work was wonderful. He took over a historic team and he totally changed them. He chose to sign young players, particularly French, and he was champion of England.”

“Then he had to evolve and change because when the club moved from Highbury to the Emirates they had to pay for the new stadium by selling their best players. But even so, Wenger managed to always keep the team in the four. Since Wenger left, no one has returned the team to the Champions League.”

The Spanish defender left Arsenal in 2019 and signed for Real Sociedad. Monreal provided insight on what it was like to play under Wenger. He describes Wenger as a loyal, calm manager who would always aim to balance the egos and maintain equilibrium in the dressing room. He said:

“He is a great guy who I have a special affection for. A great person who always defended the player in front of the press. He always wanted to avoid any bad vibes. He dealt with the dressing room very well, and he gave me the opportunity to live those years in England. He is a man who gave Arsenal a lot in 22 years.”

Mikel Arteta is now in the hot seat at the Emirates and is a former teammate of Monreal. The former Malaga defender describes Arteta as an ambitious, intelligent man who was never afraid of confrontation in his pursuit of perfection. He paints an interesting picture of a man who is perceived to be one of football’s good guys who excels at being diplomatic. On Arteta, Monreal said:

“He is a very direct guy, who knows what he wants. He understood the game, he corrected his teammates, regardless of his position on the field. He knew where each one had to be. He is a leader, he knows how to transmit, reach the footballer. And he always told us he wanted to be a coach.”


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