Last season saw Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal overtake Kieran Gibbs, and he has kept his place to start this season as first choice.
Rumours emerged on Thursday that the Spanish international is set to be awarded with a new three-year deal but Arsène Wenger was quick to deny them at Friday’s press conference.
“No,” said the manager when asked if reports had been accurate. “I’m happy with his performances but at the moment we are not in negotiations for a new contract.”
Monreal’s current deal is thought to expire at the end of the season, with Arsenal having an option to extend by a further year so it would carry on until the summer of 2017.
At the age of 29 Monreal and his agent must know this is his last good opportunity to win a big new contract, as he will be 31 by the time his current contract expires (if Arsenal choose to take up the one year extension).
Monreal has been excellent since injuries at the back saw him play centre-half for a period last season, improving his game and making the spot on the left of the defence his own. Kieran Gibbs has a fight on his hands if he wants that place back anytime soon.
The Spanish international has been frequently linked with a move to Athletic Club this summer but it is clear that Arsenal value him. A new contract may not be in the offing just yet but while he is playing regular football at the club it is hard to imagine him forcing his way out.