Nacho Monreal returned to Spain on 31 August 2019, joining Real Sociedad on a two-year contract. He scored on his competitive debut two weeks later, converting an easy tap-in at the hour mark of an eventual 2–0 victory over Atlético Madrid . He had played 187 times for Arsenal and must rank as one of the most successful January transfer window moves for Arsenal in the 21st century.
Here are the anniversaries
31 January 1891: Old Westminsters 5 Royal Arsenal 4 in the London Senior Cup. Royal Arsenal went through on aggregate as they headed for their last trophy before becoming Woolwich Arsenal.
31 January 1893: Stephen Dunn born. As a goalkeeper he played 44 times for Arsenal – but also played as a full back when his sprained wrist meant he couldn’t play in his normal position, but needed to fill in because of injuries elsewhere.
31 January 1914: Arsenal played first division Everton in a friendly as both Arsenal and Everton had been knocked out of the FA Cup in the previous round. A satisfactory crowd of 10,000 turned up to watch.
31 January 1919: “The Sportsman” reported details of Tottenham’s letter to league clubs admitting that there were no league rules for deciding on how the league should be expanded next season. This letter is a definitive element in showing there was no conspiracy to demote Tottenham and promote Arsenal.
31 January 1919: The Battle of George Square took place in Glasgow as the army moved in with tanks to confront protesters who were complaining about escalating rents in the city.
31 January 1931: Aston Villa, Arsenal’s rivals for the title beat Middlesbrough 8-1 as part of a run of seven successive wins in which they scored 33 goals. Arsenal on this day drew 1-1 with Birmingham having won the previous game 9-1 and winning the next game 7-2. Also here.
31 January 1934: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 3. 68,828 turned up to pay tribute to Herbert Chapman who died just before the previous home game. That made the recent record against Tottenham with two Arsenal wins, four draws and six Arsenal defeats. This was the highest Highbury crowd thus far but was exceeded on 9 March 1935. It was also the last time Arsenal played the same team in two successive matches all season.
31 January 1942: Arsenal 11 Watford 0 in the wartime league.
31 January 1948: Arsenal 3 Preston 0. With 3 wins and a draw Arsenal completed the 4th unbeaten month of the league season (although they did lose to Bradford in the FA cup).
31 January 1953: Arsenal 6 Bury 2 (FA Cup). Although Arsenal went out to Blackpool (with Matthews in the side) in the sixth round it was still a memorable campaign as Arsenal scored 10 goals in the 3rd and 4th rounds and Holton, Lishman and Logie each scored in three of the four rounds Arsenal played in, while Roper got goals in two games. This was also the day of the North Sea Floods.
31 January 1959: Arsenal beat Tottenham 4-1 at WHL, despite having Len Julians sent off in the 2nd half for “persistent fouling”. So superior were the Gunners that David Herd was able to depart the game with a very minor foot injury, bringing Arsenal down to 9 men. Even then, Jackie Henderson increased the lead to 4-0 before Bobby Smith scored a consolation with the last kick of the match. Unfortunately it was Arsenal’s last success at WHL until the opening day of the season 1968/69.
31 January 1987: Arsenal 6 Plymouth 1 FA Cup 4th round. Arsenal eventually went out to Watford in the sixth round. Nicholas, Davis, Rocastle, Quinn, Anderson and an OG made up the total
31 January 1998: Arsenal 3 Southampton 0. This was the start of the record breaking eight league games without conceding a goal. Bergkamp, Adams and Anelka got the goals. 24th league game of the 2nd Double season: part 1, part 2, part 3.
31 January 1999: Arsenal 1 Chelsea 0, ending Chelsea’s 21 game unbeaten run. while being part of Arsenal’s 19 league match unbeaten run. Arsène Wenger said simply after the game, “I knew my players were ready”.
31 January 2002: Blackburn 2 Arsenal 3. League match 24 of the third Double season. Bergkamp 2 and Henry got the goals in a result that left Arsenal second. In the next two games they would slip to fourth, before powering back for the final run in.
31 January 2003: Guillaume Warmuz purchased from Lens. He only stayed a very short while before being sold on to Borussia Dortmund. He later played for Monaco.
31 January 2006: David Bentley sold to Blackburn Rovers. He undoubtedly had a huge talent, but never lived up to expectations and after playing with Tottenham reserves eventually gave up football in 2014 to run a restaurant.
31 January 2006: Quincy Owusu Abedyie sold to Spartak Moscow. He had numerous loans out from that club and later played for Panathinaikos before moving on to Boavista.
31 January 2007: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 1 after extra time (Adebayor Aliadière and an own goal) – taking Arsenal into the League Cup final after a 2-2 draw at Tottenham. In the final we played Chelsea. Details of our progress through the competition this season are here
31 January 2011: Nacer Barazite never played a league game for Arsenal, but was sold to Austria Wien. He later moved on to AS Monaco and FC Utrecht.
31 January 2011: Gilles Sunu loaned to Lorient. After the loan spell he signed permanently for them having never played for Arsenal in the league.
31 January 2011: Kyle Bartley loaned to Rangers. He later moved on to Swansea.
31 January 2011: Ryo Miyaichi completed his move to Arsenal. He looked tremendously promising, but injuries appeared to hinder his talent and he was consigned to a range of loan deals before moving on.
31 January 2012: Thomas Eisfeld joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for £420,000. Despite some highly promising performances he did not make the final breakthrough and eventually joined Fulham.
31 January 2012: Ryo Miyaichi went to Bolton on loan and played 12 times for them before making one final English loan deal with Wigan. After this he moved to Europe.
31 January 2013: Chuks Aneke loaned to Crewe for the second time. After failing to break into the Arsenal team he moved on to Zulte Waregem in the Belgian League.
31 January 2013: Monreal signed for £8.5m from Malaga to cover for the injured Gibbs. Despite his low fee he went on to play both at full back and central defence for the club and by 2015/16 was seen as a fundamental part of the new back four.
31 January 2014: Arsenal agreed a loan deal for injured Kim Kallstrom. Despite Arsenal making it clear that they did not pay his wages until he was fit, the press always labelled it a “controversial” move.
31 January 2014: Daniel Boateng joined Hibs on loan. He returned to Arsenal at the end of the season and then moved on to Södertälje FK
31 January 2014: Ju Young Park joined Watford on loan having failed to make any impact at all with Arsenal, his transfer remaining one of the most puzzling of the modern era.
31 January 2014: Frimpong sold to Barnsley. The club later released him after just a handful of games and he moved on to Russia where unfortunately his discipline problems continued to follow him.
31 January 2017: Six young Arsenal players went out on loan, including Krystian Bielik who went to Birmingham City.
31 January 2018: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of around £56m. It was Arsene Wenger’s final signing for Arsenal.
31 January 2019: Arsenal signed Denis Suárez on loan from Barcelona. Meanwhile Emile Smith Rowe joined RB Leipzig on loan. Monreal joined Real Sociedad on a two year contract.