Arsenal have decided they’re going to propose a contract extension to Nacho Monreal, to avoid losing him on a free transfer this summer, according to a report from Italy.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Nacho Monreal of Arsenal runs with the ball under pressure from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa of Fulham during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Arsenal FC at Craven Cottage on October 7, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 07: Nacho Monreal of Arsenal runs with the ball under pressure from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa of Fulham during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Arsenal FC at Craven Cottage on October 7, 2018, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Alfredo Pedulla reports that Arsenal have ‘no intention’ of losing Monreal on a free transfer. The defender has drawn interest from Barcelona and Marseille but, this week, the Gunners have decided to present him with a contract renewal offer to keep him with the club for next season.

Manchester United vs Arsenal, Thursday, 27 November 2021, kick-off 8.15pm (UK) is live on Amazon Prime [get a free 30-day Amazon prime trial here].

Presumably, Pedulla is referencing the one-year extension option in Monreal’s contract, though it’s not made explicitly clear that’s the case. ESPN reported in January that Arsenal had already activated the clause, but it appears that report was wide of the mark, as no other sources corroborated the information.

If Monreal is being kept on as a backup option, that’s not the worst idea. Arsenal have plenty of areas of the pitch they need to invest in this summer, so spending money on backups would be a waste.

However, Monreal isn’t reliable enough in either ability or injury record to go into the new season as a first-choice option, so signing him up for that purpose would be a mistake. We’ll have to wait and find out what Unai Emery’s intentions for the defender are, assuming he accepts the renewal.