Gibbs injury prompted Monreal buy
• With left-back out for two months, deal was brought forward
• 'We had to make a quick decision' says Arsène Wenger
Arsène Wenger has revealed that Kieran Gibbs's injury setback made it imperative for Arsenal to sign the Spain full-back Nacho Monreal from Málaga on transfer deadline day.
Wenger pushed through the deal, believed to be for £8.5m, after Gibbs hobbled off with a thigh problem in Wednesday night's 2-2 Premier League draw against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.
With the injury expected to rule the England left-back out of action for the best part of two months, Wenger was glad to be able to sign a player he had been tracking for some time.
"Our scouts have followed his progress for a while and of course we had a blow with the Gibbs injury, which is a bit longer than expected," Wenger said. "We expected two to three weeks, now it will be four to six, so we were in a position where we had to make a quick decision. That explains our buy."
Wenger added: "I believe we need two left-backs. You cannot play every single game with the same player. We had two before, we have two again now. If Gibbs is out for four to six weeks, from six it can easily go to eight [before he is competitive again] and that means two months in a very decisive period, so it is vital to have another left-back."
Monreal, 26, will be cup-tied for the Champions League, having helped Málaga qualify for the knockout stages. However, Wenger is in no doubt the Spaniard can have a big impact on the squad. "We believe he can integrate our style of play and adapt very quickly to that," he said. "He has the characteristics to play our game because he is very mobile, has a good left foot and is very good in combination play. It is of course vital in our style of play."
Wenger has yet to decide whether Monreal will go straight into the side to face Stoke on Saturday, but revealed that the midfielder Mikel Arteta could be back from his lay-off with a calf injury. Centre-back Thomas Vermaelen aggravated an ankle problem against Liverpool and will be assessed before the match.
Arsenal were linked with several other players during the January transfer window, including the Barcelona forward David Villa and West Ham's Senegalese midfielder Mohamed Diamé.
Wenger said he was frustrated not to have signed at least one more player. "We were close to one more signature, yes," he said. "It was not a money problem, it was more a desire from other clubs to keep their players."
Filed under: Euro 2012
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