News and gossip from The Emirates on the 1st February 2013.
Arsenal have completed the signing of Spanish international left back Nacho Monreal. A deal believed to be in the region of £10 million has been agreed between Arsenal and Malaga and the former Osasuna player will team up with another ex-Anchovy Santi Cazorla. It was the only piece of business done on transfer deadline day by Arsene Wenger after no movement was made on Momo Diame or David Villa.
His arrival could not be timelier as Arsenal today confirmed that Kieran Gibbs has a more serious injury than first feared. Originally it was thought the young England international would be out for approximately three weeks however it now appears that timescale is generous with two months far more likely a time period. It means he will miss both legs of the tie with Bayern Munich in the Champions League while Monreal is cup-tied; leaving Wenger with the decision of whether to play Andre Santos or Thomas Vermaelen at left-back.
Full team news now ahead of the game with Stoke and Monreal is expected to make his debut for the club at The Emirates on Saturday. Thomas Vermaelen is a doubt with an ankle problem but Mikel Arteta could return from his calf injury. Francis Coquelin is still out with a hamstring problem while Gervinho is at the African Nations.
Neither of Stoke’s new signings will feature as Jack Butland has returned to Birmingham on loan while Brek Shea still has paperwork regarding his visa to sort out and is also recovering from a foot operation.
Arsene Wenger showed more of his humorous side once again today by claiming he was the secret behind David Beckham’s move to PSG:
"It just shows you how efficient we are with our training sessions! He came here to practice once, and straight away he was bought by Paris St Germain."
Oh, Arsene; let me just re-stitch my split sides before I continue.
The Metro report that both Tottenham and Arsenal missed out on transfer deadline deals for Etienne Capoue of Toulouse. Both reportedly tabled bids for the French international in the final hour of proceedings but there simply was not enough time to get a deal done.
Finally and teenage striker Benik Afobe, who was recently included in the England under-21 squad, has returned from his loan deal with Bolton Wanderers. He played 23 competitive games at the Reebok Stadium scoring just three times.
How do you think Monreal will get on against Stoke this weekend?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald