Barcelona linked with Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal


La Liga leaders Barcelona have been linked with a shock move for Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal, according to media reports in Spain.

The Spanish international is rumoured to be interesting Ernesto Valverde’s side, in a story by Catalan newspaper Diario Sport, this morning.

Despite tying current first choice left back Jordi Alba to a long term deal at the end of February, cover in the position has been a real concern for La Blaugrana at times this season.

Prior to Alba signing his new contract, Barcelona had been linked with Ateltico Madrid’s Filipe Luis and Ferland Mendy of Ligue 1 side Lyon, but now they could turn their attention to the experienced Monreal.

The former Malaga and Osasuna player has been at Arsenal for six and half seasons, and his current deal in North London expires at the end of the campaign – making him an option for clubs as a free transfer.

At 33, he is not the long term answer to replacing 29 year-old Alba in the Barcelona defence for years to come, however he offers an experienced figure in the dressing room have played regular Premier League and Champions League football for The Gunners.

With Arsenal also not likely to offer him a new deal any time soon, a return to Spain could make sense for the Pamplona native.

Currently Barcelona do not have a senior option to cover for Alba, with former Arsenal man Thomas Vermaelen offering cover, or alternatively youngster Juan Miranda stepping in when called upon.

Neither of these players have looked like a reliable alternative to Alba, with Nelson Semedo and Sergi Roberto also struggling when asked to switch flanks.

That has left Valverde with a defensive conundrum, with a steady option needed if Barcelona are to fight on three fronts again next season.

Miranda may develop into a long term successor to Alba, or they may prefer to return for Mendy in 2020, if Lyon want to keep him for another season, but Valverde will look to strengthen if possible.

Whilst Vermaelen’s name is not always viewed with huge optimism by Barcelona fans, there is a case for the club bringing in experienced defenders to provide vital cover. The primary example being former French international Jeremy Mathieu, who made a key contribution in three seasons at the Nou Camp.

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