Wenger: Set-to-sign Monreal ‘not necessarily’ first choice

Mark Holmes

Arsene Wenger says Nacho Monreal is “not necessarily” Arsenal’s first-choice left-back after Kieran Gibbs impressed against Sunderland.

Monreal has started all but one of Arsenal’s Premier League games this season – he was rested against Bournemouth on December 28 – but Gibbs served another reminder of his ability at left-back with a good performance in the 3-1 FA Cup win at the weekend.

Asked about reports that Monreal has agreed a new contract at Emirates Stadium, Wenger said, “We’ll announce that at some stage, when it’s finished. It’s not over the line completely but we’re not far.”

Monreal is 30 next month but will apparently be handed a three-year contract extension, something which Wenger says is reward for his continual improvement since joining the Gunners.

However, Wenger has reminded the former Malaga defender that he has strong competition for a place.

“He has improved every year since he has arrived,” Wenger said of Monreal.

“(But) He’s not necessarily my first-choice left back. He plays more than Kieran Gibbs at the moment, but I think I am a bit spoiled there.

“Gibbs has come back and he has shown again on Saturday a very, very strong level. That makes my decisions at that level very difficult. But overall, Nacho Monreal has been absolutely outstanding.”