Wenger: Monreal has passed Arsenal test

After three back-to-back league wins, the manager has paid tribute to the club’s recent signing and believes the Spanish left-back is yet to reach his full potential

Arsene Wenger says that January signing Nacho Monreal has passed his test at the club after taking the pace and physicality of the Premier League in his stride since arriving from Malaga.

The 26-year-old demonstrated his versatility in his first three appearances for the Gunners, contributing to consecutive defensive clean sheets against Stoke and Sunderland before teeing up Santi Cazorla to clinch a vital winner against Aston Villa at the weekend.

“There is no better culture shock than to play against Stoke and Sunderland,” Wenger told reporters.

“He has seen all about the passion and commitment of the English game. You can say Nacho Monreal passed that test.

“The first thing you want from your defenders is to defend well, so we cannot reproach him for that. You will see the other aspects of his game more when his confidence has settled.

“It happened with Kieran Gibbs too, the more confident he became the more efficient he was going forward. It can take a bit of time to express that side.”

Wenger went on to admit that Arsenal had been monitoring the Spain international for some time and had earmarked the player as one of the club’s main targets for the transfer window.

Despite a tumultuous couple of weeks, Wenger believes that the acquisition of the Spaniard rounded off a decent January transfer window for the club, particularly after the drawn-out contract talks with Theo Walcott.

“Personally I am relieved because we dealt with the situation and we extended all of our players’ [contracts], kept Walcott and bought Monreal,” he added.

“Of course you can always do better but overall I feel the club has dealt with the situation we faced in a satisfactory way.”

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