The Nacho Monreal to Athletic Club Bilbao rumours have heated up a lot in recent weeks.
Spanish sport newspapers such as Marca have to fill a page on Athletic Club every day and there’s not really a lot they can write about transfers giving the club’s recruitment terms.
The club have a strict rule of only recruiting Basque players and that makes for a very limited pool for which 29 year old Monreal is qualified.
Any good Basque player conceivably available for transfer has to be a serious consideration for Athletic Club and therefore whilst the rumours over the years have been speculation, it’s been speculation based on solid foundations.
Things changed a little this week when AS, another Spanish newspaper, said that Arsenal were to buy Algerian left back Faouzi Ghoulam and for which Monreal was to leave the club.
It was something Marca had said at the weekend, indeed they even claimed Arsene Wenger wanted Ghoulam in time for the flight to Singapore.
None of this was being independently and heavily pushed by local Basque newspaper El Correo, the best connected on the issue.
However, on Thursday El Correo’s main sport story is Monreal. They say they’ve been told by the player’s environment that if Arsenal sign Ghoulam then Monreal will ask for a move and be close to an Athletic Club transfer. That’s as good a source as you can get and should be treated as genuine.
They go on to say that the AS claims of a done deal are untrue, but the club are watching the situation and are likely to make a move if the ‘conditions’ are right for them to do so.
El Correo say that Athletic Club have been interested for a long time and that Monreal’s potential return to the Basque country is closer.