Nacho Monreal turns 32 years of age in February, and a few years ago it would have been a good bet he’d celebrate it in Bilbao.

Athletic Club have been repeatedly linked to the defender since he made the move to Arsenal. With the club’s strict Basque recruitment policy, Monreal is one of a limited number of players available, and it seemed the hope from Bilbao has been that sooner or later he’d make the switch.

There’s been times when it’s looked like the transfer could come sooner, with Monreal out of the most important Arsenal plans, and the club not rushing to offer an extension. But the situation has very much changed, and Marca point out it’s been a great year for Monreal.

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More important for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, Monreal is having a general career resurgence and is increasingly confident of a Spanish squad place for the World Cup.

Marca say the defender is ‘delighted’ to be an Arsenal player in London, and has even started business ventures off the pitch, putting down further roots.

Athletic rumours are once again referenced, but Marca concede it’s ‘unlikely’ Monreal is going anywhere next summer.