In recent days Nacho Monreal has moved to debunk rumours that he would be leaving Arsenal for Athletic Bilbao in a £7m deal.
“I’m very happy at Arsenal,” the defender told goal.com.
“Of course I enjoyed playing in a lot of the games last season and that is the target again – that is all I can say right now.”
Just as well for the Gunners, he’s their secret weapon.
Not much of a weapon you might say – the Spaniard looks more like he should be working in Waterstones than playing Premier League football.
Nor does he play a conspicuous role in the getting of goals, having mustered the sum total of one strike and as many assists in 2014/15.
Yet the Gunners are simply better when he is on the pitch, winning 67% of the 36 games in which he started last term and losing just 11%.
That’s in comparison to victory percentage of 50 in the 20 matches in which he wasn’t among the XI, with 30% of such fixtures lost.
Just how much of stalwart Monreal has proven is illustrated by Arsenal’s results when Kieran Gibbs was installed on the left in his place.
The north London side won 68% of the matches the academy product started, as opposed to 54% of those in which he wasn’t among those to begin the contest.
Moreover, the Gunners lost 25% of the 28 outings in which he made the XI, but just 11% when he wasn’t featured from the off.
Not even the presence of Charlton-to-Champions-League renaissance man Francis Coquelin, the player most widely credited with reviving Arsenal’s campaign had such a positive on effect their ability to avoid defeat.
Admittedly slightly less convincing as an auxiliary centre-half than on the left of defence the Spaniard is still priced up very alluringly in a Premier League appearance match bet with fellow full-back Gibbs this term.
Monreal is the 1/2 favourite to his colleague’s 7/5.