Arsenal seal £8m Monreal deal

The Gunners have completed the signing of the Spain international full-back but were forced to admit defeat in their attempts to capture Barcelona star David Villa
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal have confirmed the £8 million signing of Malaga left-back Nacho Monreal but have admitted defeat in their pursuit of David Villa.

The defender passed a medical at the club's London Colney training base on Thursday night after jetting into the capital and has agreed to sign a £60,000-a-week, four-and-a-half-year contract.

The deal was announced just before the Premier League's 23.00GMT registration deadline.

The Londoners had centred their deadline-day sights firmly on Spain as Arsene Wenger made a late bid to shore up his leaky defence and add greater firepower to his attack.

5/4 Arsenal are 5/4 with William Hill to finish in the Premier League top four
However, the Gunners failed in their last-ditch pursuits for two other Spain-based players – Barcelona striker David Villa and Athletic Bilbao centre-back Fernando Amorebieta.

As revealed by on Thursday, Arsenal tabled a formal bid of between £10m and £11m for Villa but Barcelona held firm despite Spain's record goalscorer wanting to make the switch to the Emirates Stadium.

The Premier League club also held talks in the final hours of the window to sign Amorebieta, 27, with a fee of between £4m and £6m being discussed.

But the Venezuela international rejected the approach and decided to stay at Bilbao at least until the summer.

That rendered Monreal, who has won nine caps for Spain, Arsenal's only signing of the January window despite Wenger having around £50m available to spend. revealed on Thursday morning that Arsene Wenger was planning at least one late swoop in a bid to shore up his leaky defence.

He emerged as Wenger's specialist left-back target to provide competition for Kieran Gibbs, who suffered a thigh injury against Liverpool on Wednesday night.

The Arsenal boss has lost faith in Gibbs' deputy, Andre Santos, who could be offloaded to Fenerbahce or Galatasaray before the Turkish transfer window closes at 17.00GMT on Friday.