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Arsenal clinch deal for left back Monreal

  

Reuters

Malaga's Nacho Monreal (R) and Levante's Javi Venta fight for the ball during their Spanish first division soccer match at the Ciudad de Valencia Stadium in Valencia October 16, 2011.

REUTERS

"He is a technically gifted player‚ a good crosser in the final third and strong in the air."

LONDON: Arsenal clinched a last-minute deal for Spanish international left back Nacho Monreal from Malaga on Thursday.

The 26-year-old signed a long-term contract with the Gunners shortly before the transfer window closed, according to the Premier League club's website (www.arsenal.com).

Monreal, who has nine Spain caps and played at Malaga with Arsenal's Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla, will strengthen manager Arsene Wenger's options in defence after Kieran Gibbs was injured against Liverpool on Wednesday.

Replacement left back Andre Santos has struggled this season, leading to Wenger moving for the experienced Monreal as Arsenal push for a top-four finish.

"We are delighted that Nacho Monreal has agreed to join us," Wenger said. "We have been monitoring him for some time now and are really pleased that we've been able to agree this move.

"Monreal is a strong left-sided defender with good experience at both club and international level.

"He is a technically gifted player, a good crosser in the final third and strong in the air."

Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League, four points behind the Champions League places.

As a replacement for Monreal, Qatar-owned Malaga sealed a deal to take Portuguese left back Vitorino Antunes on loan from Pacos de Ferreira until the end of the season with an option to buy the 25-year-old.

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