Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal closes in on exit with €10m move to Bilbao

Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal could be set for a surprise summer exit, after reports in Spain suggested that Athletic Bilbao were interested in completing a €10m move.

According to AS, the 29-year-old could agree a three-year contract that would see him move back to La Liga, two years after he joined the Gunners from Malaga.

AS report that the Spain international had wanted to extend his stay at the Emirates at the start of the summer. However, Arsene Wenger reportedly turned down the opportunity to open talks.

Despite having Monreal and Kieran Gibbs at his disposal, Wenger has reportedly been keen to strengthen his options on the left-hand side of defence. Both Baba Rahman of Augsburg (via Guardian) and Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam (via Daily Mirror) have been linked with moves to the Premier League club this summer.

Should a concrete bid be made for either Rahman or Ghoulam, Monreal may decide to consider his plans ahead of the new campaign, or risk having to spend much of the season watching from the bench.

One potential stumbling block to any deal is the Basque player rule. In the past, only players from the region – from which Monreal is not – have been able to play for Bilbao. Although, the policy has been slightly relaxed in recent years (via Metro), which may allow him to join the club.

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