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Jan 31, 2013

Arsenal close in on Nacho Monreal

Malaga left-back Nacho Monreal is close to a €10 million move to Premier League side Arsenal, according to reports in Spain.

Nacho Monreal missed the cut for Spain's Euro 2012 squad
Monreal has impressed as Malaga's first choice left-back

Monreal, 26, has impressed at Malaga since joining the club from Osasuna in summer 2011 for €6 million.

He has become undisputed first choice for coach Manuel Pellegrini as the Qatari-owned club finished fourth in La Liga last season, qualifying for the Champions League.

A solid defender with good composure and technique on the ball, he is also dangerous in attack and has contributed one goal and two assists in his 14 Primera Division appearances this season.

However, injury restricted him to only two Champions League appearances in the autumn.

Monreal, born in Pamplona, has five caps for Spain. He missed out on La Roja’s Euro 2012 squad, partly because of an injury and partly due to the emergence of Barcelona’s Jordi Alba, but was back in the squad for Spain’s most recent qualifiers against Belarus and France.

When Malaga's financial problems surfaced last summer, Monreal was immediately seen as one of their most saleable assets, and Athletic Bilbao reportedly had a €10 million bid rejected last August.

If Monreal joins Arsenal, he will again team-up with former Malaga colleague Santi Cazorla, who made a similar cut-price move last summer.

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