Monreal On Wish-List
Arsenal full-back Nacho Monreal is being linked with a surprise interest from Barcelona.
That’s the surprising news coming out of Spain with Monreal one of a number of candidates on the wishlist of Barca coach Ernesto Valverde. Twenty-year-old Marc Cucurella and 18-year-old Juan Miranda were given opportunities during Barca’s pre-season programme, but Valverde doesn’t believe either of the duo are up to the rigours of regular first-team football – if need be.
Valverde wants the club to dip into the market to sign a back-up to Jordi Alba. The problem is that there isn’t enough money in their transfer kitty for a January signing. In that case, Barca are looking to sign an experienced left-back to act as Alba’s understudy.
As well as Monreal, Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno and Filipe Luis of Atletico Madrid are also being considered according to the Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo.
Lichtsteiner Rules Out Retirement
Arsenal right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner says he is determined to fight for a place in the Gunners side.
The 34-year-old joined Arsenal on a free transfer from Juventus when his contract with the Serie A side expired in the summer. But he has made just one first-team appearance for the club when he came on as a substitute in the 2-0 opening-day home defeat to Manchester City.
But speaking to Sportal, Lichtsteiner says he fully expected not to be a first-team regular when he moved to the Emirates and he ruled out the prospect of retirement.
“I wanted to join a big club, I was looking for a demanding challenge in a new league,” he said.
“That’s why I knew from the very beginning at Arsenal that I had to fight for the regular spot against Hector Bellerin.
“For me, stepping down has never been up for debate. if I have to admit that I cannot keep the level of the last few years, then it is time but then I will not only resign from the Swiss national team, but finish my career.
“Based purely on performance data I have the physicality of a 28-year-old.”
However, Lichtsteiner admitted that he faces an unusual situation in his career spending time on the bench.
“It is quite unusual for me to be a substitute. Three games in a row, that’s never happened to me.”