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Monreal extends Arsenal stay

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Arsenal's Nacho Monreal and Alexis Sanchez share a moment on the field. PHOTO/File

Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal and Alexis Sanchez share a moment on the field. PHOTO/File

LONDON, January 19 – Nacho Monreal has signed a new contract with Arsenal, the English Premier League leaders announced on Tuesday.

The Gunners said Monreal, 29, had signed a “long-term” deal but did not disclose the exact length of his contract.

Monreal, who joined the north London club from Malaga for a reported £10 million ($14 million, 13 million euros) in January 2013, has been an ever-present in all of Arsenal’s 22 Premier League matches so far this season.

“I’m really happy because my intention was to keep playing for Arsenal. I feel really good playing here,” Monreal told Arsenal Player.

“I have a good relationship with my team-mates and we keep improving year after year,” added the Spaniard, who has won successive FA Cups with Arsene Wenger’s side and displaced Kieran Gibbs as the Gunners’ left-back.

“I wanted to stay here and I could extend my contract. I would like to play here for many more years.”

But Monreal said he had found it hard, initially, to adjust to life in England.

“I’m very happy with my performances this season. At the beginning it was difficult because I was a new signing and I didn’t speak English.

“But now I feel more comfortable with my team-mates and with everything in general so that has helped me to play better because I have more confidence in myself.”

Meanwhile veteran manager Wenger acknowledged Monreal’s influence since the defender’s arrival from La Liga three years ago.

“He is a very important player at the club because he can play left-back and centre back,” said Wenger, whose side lead the Premier League table on goal difference from surprise title contenders Leicester City.

“He has the consistency in his performances that is requested at the top level.”

The Frenchman added: “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.”

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