By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes| Premier League expert with experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
Nacho Monreal’s new Arsenal contract is worth £14.6million, Football Insider sources understand.
The Gunners announced on Tuesday morning that the left-back has signed a new deal with the club.
An Arsenal source has told Football Insider that the new contract runs over three-and-a-half years and until 2019.
Monreal, 29, has been handed a £20,000-a-week pay rise as part of the new agreement, which will lift him into the £80,000-a-week bracket.
Football Insider revealed last year that the Spain international had agreed a new deal to replace his current £60,000-a-week deal, which began in January 2013 and runs until 2017. It is understood he signed the agreement before Christmas.
Arsene Wenger says the deal is well deserved for Monreal, who is highly regarded both within the club and by opponents.
“He’s calm, focused and dedicated,” Wenger told the Arsenal website. “He’s well-accepted and loved by his partners. He has the modest approach of a player who wants to give his best to the team. Everybody senses that and that’s why I think it’s important for the club to have that stability.
“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.
Gunners sources had told Football Insider in August that Arsenal were set to offer Monreal a new contract to ward off interest from Athletic Bilbao.
The Spanish club were interested in paying around £7million to prise the 29-year-old from Emirates Stadium.
But Arsene Wenger was adamant he did not want to lose Monreal and sanctioned a new contract for the £8million signing from Malaga.
He has been Arsenal’s undisputed first choice left-back over the last 12 months after displacing Kieran Gibbs in the second half of last season.
Speaking about Monnreal, Wenger added: “He is a very important player at the club because he can play left-back and centre back. He has the consistency in his performances that is requested at the top level.
“Overall, his attitude has been absolutely fantastic on a daily basis since he arrived here. He’s 100 per cent committed and I think as well he has always improved since he has arrived and has shown that in many big games as well.”
The Spaniard was a key figure in the team’s renaissance which ended with an FA Cup triumph and a third-placed Premier League finish, and has extended that form this season as Arsenal challenge for the title.
He is regarded by the Arsenal coaching staff as a more reliable defender than Gibbs and has been given the nod over his English rival to start most of the Gunners’ matches this season.