Arsenal are nearing a deal to sign Spanish international left-back Nacho Monreal. UK newspaper The Independent, reports the Gunners are finalising a deal said to be worth £8.6 Million.

Arsenal's need for quality cover at left-back has been longstanding. However, that need became more pressing since Kieran Gibbs' injury against Liverpool on Wednesday night.

That leaves Arsenal relying on the calamity prone Andre Santos. That's not a scenario that would inspire renewed confidence in an already shaky defence. The Gunners defensive frailties have been exposed on a number of occasions in recent games. Monreal will be relied upon to solidify the left flank.

He currently plays for Malaga and his capture would represent Arsenal's second raid on the La Liga club since the summer. Arsene Wenger swooped for Santi Cazorla during that transfer window and now seems set to reunite the tricky playmaker with his ex-teammate.

The potential fee for Monreal does raise some questions about Gibbs' status as starting left-back. £8.6 million is a lot to pay simply for a squad player. Monreal certainly has the credentials to make the starting berth his own.

The 26-year-old's performances have earned him nine full senior international caps. That's at a position of strength for the Spanish national team that also boasts Barcelona's Jordi Alba. Monreal is also comfortable on the ball and offers quickness and intelligence.

Genuine competition for starts is something Arsenal need, especially in defence. Too many under-performing, mistake-prone defenders are seemingly guaranteed their places.

A completed deal for Monreal would be the Gunners first signing of the winter window. Many Arsenal fans will hope it's only an opening salvo and not Wenger's only foray into the market.