Nacho Monreal, the 29-year-old Spanish left back Arsenal signed from Malaga in January 2013 for around £8 million, has been quietly impressive this season, putting together a string of performances that would put him within striking distance of being called one of the best fullbacks in the Premier League. Having pushed past Kieran Gibbs in the 2014-15 season to become Arsenal's regular starting left back, Monreal has become a key player in the Arsenal defense, providing important support in attack and incredibly solid cover in defense. As the dot com notes, Monreal has featured in all 22 of Arsenal’s Premier League matches so far in 2015/16, helping the team keep 10 clean sheets along the way. Monreal has played in 83 Premier League games overall and made 113 appearances across all competitions, scoring two goals including an incredible strike at Manchester United which helped fire Arsenal to the FA Cup Semi-Final last year.
In a move that should be unsurprising given his sterling form this season, Monreal has inked a new contract with Arsenal that will keep him under contract until 2019. Although some may be surprised that a player who is about turn turn 30 next month has been given a long-term contract based on manager Arsene Wenger's past hesitance to give aging players long-term contracts, the status of players like Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky make this move an unsurprising one.
Wenger had this to say about Monreal:
"He is a very important player at the club because he can play left-back and centre back," Wenger told Arsenal Player. "He has the consistency in his performances that is requested at the top level.
"Overall, his attitude has been absolutely fantastic on a daily basis since he arrived here. He’s 100 per cent committed and I think as well he has always improved since he has arrived and has shown that in many big games as well.
"He’s calm, focused and dedicated. He’s well-accepted and loved by his partners. He has the modest approach of a player who wants to give his best to the team. Everybody senses that and that’s why I think it’s important for the club to have that stability.
"Everyone in the Premier League would say that he has become a very strong player. Arsenal are gifted at the moment, I must say, with two top-class left backs. We have many young players. They need to be surrounded by experienced players, especially at the back.
"We now have experience at the back. Nacho is part of that – he’s a good example for the young players and we have a good bunch of young players. We have seen another one with Alex Iwobi the other day, who has shown talent. They need to see how you behave at that level."
Monreal also spoke about his new contract:
"I have a good relationship with my team-mates and we keep improving year after year. I wanted to stay here and I could extend my contract. I would like to play here for many more years," Monreal said.
"The trust of the Arsenal fans is really important for us because they are helping us in every moment as we are fighting to win the Premier League."
We here at TSF are thrilled that Monreal has committed to the club for the coming years. Congratulations, Nacho!