As Arsenal continue their rebuild, they will surely look to move older players on and find younger athletes to fill their place and help the Gunners to their eventual goal; silverware. Due to his advancing age, the north London side will surely have to think about fullbacks who could become Nacho Monreal replacements.
Here are five candidates.
Five Nacho Monreal Replacements
The Real Betis left-back is already linked with a move to Manchester City, meaning Arsenal may have a tough time completing this transfer. Plus, the Spanish side are known to want nearly £50 million for the player.
However, the 22-year-old has a very bright future and will be an asset no matter where he lands. Firpo has averaged 1.8 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 2.2 clearances per 90 minutes in La Liga this season.
The Betis man is also an accomplished passer of the ball, averaging 1.2 key passes in each league match. For comparison, Monreal’s average is just 0.6, although his pass accuracy is greater at 86 per cent to 81.8 per cent for Firpo.
One can plainly see why Real Betis placed such a hefty transfer fee on the player; he is nearly as good as Nacho Monreal yet is a decade his junior.
Tierney is the most decorated of all the possible Nacho Monreal replacements. He has helped Celtic win back-to-back domestic trebles the past two seasons, making 40 or more appearances in both campaigns.
What may be more impressive is the fact the Scotland international is still just 21. Tierney scored four goals and set up a further 11 last season and looks to do even better this year, with one goal and five assists as of the time of writing.
The player is under contract until 2023, meaning Celtic will be in no rush to sell. The Gunners saw a £10 million bid fail in the summer of 2017 and the Hoops were rumoured to want £25 million for Tierney this past transfer window.
Seeing as Arsenal tried to secure a transfer for Tierney previously, he will likely be near the top of their list of Nacho Monreal replacements.
So, it makes sense that Arsenal, who need a long-term Monreal replacement, would be linked with Moreno, who will leave Liverpool sooner or later. However, this is where the story stops making sense.
Moreno is a known defensive liability and the Gunners are known to have issues in defence. They also already have a left-back who is much better in attack than in defence in Sead Kolasinac.
It simply would not make sense in the long run. However, Moreno is very much available and Arsenal would have little trouble securing his services.
One left-back who is attracting attention throughout Europe is Ferland Mendy. The 23-year-old Frenchman is better with the ball than without, meaning he would fit in nicely with Unai Emery’s possession-based attack.
Despite being better in attack, Mendy also boasts respectable defensive numbers. He makes 1.1 tackles and interceptions each match and makes one clearance per 90 minutes. Monreal averages more tackles and clearances each match while making 0.9 interceptions per 90 minutes.
The only issue with this transfer is that other top clubs, such as Barcelona, are also keen on the player. Without the extra revenue from the Champions League, Arsenal may lose a bidding war for the player.
However, Mendy would be a terrific Monreal replacement if the Gunners can secure his services.
The last of these five possible Nacho Monreal replacements is the little-known Nicolás Tagliafico of Ajax. The 26-year-old may not be as young as some of these other entrants, however, he is likely the best defender on the list.
In fact, Tagliafico can be best described as a defensive specialist; he leads his team in interceptions this season and for his career averages almost three tackles per 90 minutes.
While excelling at the defensive aspects of the game, Tagliafico is also tidy in possession, completing 86.1 per cent of his attempted passes this season. Arsenal fans can think of him as the left-back version of Lucas Torreira.
The only issue may be that he just joined Ajax this past January, so the Dutch giants are in no rush to sell. However, the Gunners would likely face little to no competition for the player’s signature.
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