Arsenal are ready to keep left-back Nacho Monreal around a little longer. The former Malaga man has reportedly committed his future to the Gunners by signing a new contract worth £14.6 million, according to Tony Hughes of FootballInsider247.com.
Hughes reports the new arrangement will increase Monreal's existing salary: "The Spain international has been handed a £20,000-a-week pay rise as part of the new agreement, which will lift him into the £80,000-a-week bracket."
Monreal's new contract is also apparently set for "three-and-a-half years and until 2019." The extension in his stay and wages is an appropriate reward for a player who has progressed well since signing in January 2013.
Initially viewed as too slow, Monreal has quickly made the grade in England's top flight. Defensively, he's been a major upgrade over Kieran Gibbs.
The Spaniard boasts excellent positional sense and discipline. He's also capable in the air. With Monreal on the left, the Gunners have been very solid at the edges of their back four.
No wonder then that manager Arsene Wenger is eager to keep the 29-year-old around. Sky Sports' Lyall Thomas has also confirmed the imminent deal.
Keeping Monreal in the fold is a major boost for an experienced Arsenal defence that will be vital in the club's bid for this season's Premier League title.
But it will be just as important for Wenger to add some numbers at other key positions.
Mohamed Elneny to Sign in "Two Days"
One area of Arsenal's squad set to be fortified during the winter transfer window is midfield. FC Basel star Mohamed Elneny is reportedly getting closer to officially sealing his switch to north London.
In fact, Wenger confirmed Elneny will arrive within the next two days, following Arsenal's 3-1 win over Sunderland in the FA Cup third round, per talkSPORT.com: “We hope to announce a player in the next 24 to 48 hours. I don’t need to tell you the name. After that we will see [about other deals].”
The proposed transfer of Elneny has been quite literally inching toward completion for days now. Before facing Sunderland, Wenger called the potential £7 million deal "complicated a little bit," according to Sky Sports' Jefferson Lake.
Jack Wilson of the Daily Star has suggested Arsenal's attempts to win a work permit for Elneny on appeal have been holding the process up.
The Gunners need Elneny sooner rather than later. Wenger's midfield ranks are still thinned by a litany of injuries.
Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere are all still missing. Meanwhile, veterans Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky have both missed significant time.
News Elneny's deal is closer to being wrapped up is certainly welcome for a title-chasing group pushed to its physical breaking point in recent weeks.
Elneny's arrival and Monreal's new deal will be a double boost for a group that's set to get stronger.