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Arsene Wenger has spoken about the importance of defender Nacho Monreal

Arsene Wenger has spoken about the importance of defender Nacho Monreal, who has become an important part of the Arsenal first team in the last couple of years.

The Spaniard was a relatively unknown product when he came to the Emirates stadium for around £ 8 million from Spanish outfit Malaga. Given the intense competition for the left back and right back positions in the Arsenal team at the time,Monreal was not expected to be the first team regular. In fact, he made only 10 league appearances in his first season at the club. This has consistently improved over the years andMonreal has already made 20 appearances in the league this season.

His performances have highlighted the importance of a contract extension. The player is currently in talks with the club over extending his current deal, which expires in 2017. Despite being 29 years of age, it seems that Arsenal are willing to offer him a long-term contract. This would go slightly against the club’s policy of not offering all the players more than a 12 month contract. Wenger says that the Spaniard is fully deserving of the contract extension since he has been a valuable contributor to the team. Despite playing at left back,Monreal has already assisted three goals.

“[His importance has been the] regularity of his performances, the fact that he has improved every year since he arrived.He is not necessarily my first-choice left-back. At the moment he plays more than Kieran Gibbs but I think I'm a bit spoilt there because Gibbs has come back and has shown again on Saturday [that he plays] at a very, very strong level.That makes my decisions at that level very difficult but overall Nacho Monreal has been absolutely outstanding," said Wenger. Kieran Gibbs has suffered numerous injuries in the last 12 months.