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The man Malaga believe can replace Arsenal's Monreal

Many eyebrows were raised when Malaga announced that they had sold Nacho Monreal to Premier League side Arsenal and even more when they announced his replacement – Vitorino Antunes.

Following an unsuccessful spell with Italian side Roma, which saw him loaned to several different clubs, Vitorino Antunes returned to former club Pacos de Ferreira in Portugal, last summer.

Antunes was in action for Pacos de Ferreira on Wednesday night, in their cup semi-final defeat against Benfica but with Nacho Monreal finalizing his move to Arsenal, Málaga have swooped quickly to sign the Portuguese left-back, as a direct replacement for their departing player.

Antunes began his career in Portugal’s third division playing for the lowly unknown side of Freamunde before making the move to Pacos de Ferreira.

A good season in 2007/2008, Antunes was quickly spotted and signed by Italian side Roma on an initial loan period before making the move permanent in 2008.

Antunes made his official Roma debut on 12 December 2007, during the season’s UEFA Champions League game against Manchester United. He was chosen as Man of the match in a poll conducted by the club’s website.

However, things did not go according to plan after that impressive debut and four loan spells later, the 25-year-old left back returned to his former club, Pacos.

He has three caps for the Portuguese national side but having played in just 54 matches over the space of five years, mainly from the substitutes bench, few Malaga fans will be convinced by his signing and whether he is capable of replacing such a talent like Nacho Monreal.

image: © peacecup

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