As Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger widens his net in the search for defensive additions in the summer transfer window, the answer to his prayers may prove to be closer to home.
Highly-rated Spanish starlet Ignasi Miquel is already making strides towards the first team as he continues to develop under the watchful eye of the Emirates chief and his network of coaches.
The reserve team captain made his first team bow in an FA Cup tie at Leyton Orient, turning in an assured performance that had clearly impressed Wenger.
"He did enough to show that he will play in the Premier League and the Champions League," said the Gunners boss.
Miquel was recalled to the centre of Arsenal's defence for the 5th round replay at the Emirates Stadium and seized the opportunity to showcase his talent in front of the Gunners fans.
Following that game, which Arsenal won convincingly 5-0, reserve team coach Neil Banfield proclaimed: "Iggy has started the 20-yard walk between the reserve and first team changing room."
But the hard work won't stop there, because if as expected, Wenger does strengthen his backline, with established stars such as Gary Cahill and Christopher Samba heavily linked with moves to North London.
Miquel will have to keep knocking on the door in an attempt to emulate what Jack Wilshere has successfully achieved this year, and make 2011-12 his breakthrough season for Arsenal.
"I have to keep working and continue improving," he said. "Obviously that's what you're working for, everyone here wants to be in the first team. Once you are there you can see how it works, I want to get there one day. It makes me want to keep working."
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