Report: Champions League windfall could help Athletic Bilbao sign Arsenal star

Athletic Bilbao are planning on bringing in Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal according to a report.

According to the Spanish publication AS, Athletic Bilbao are planning on bringing in Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal if they achieve Champions League football.

The Basque outfit were drawn against Serie A giants Napoli in the Champions League qualifiers in what promises to be an intriguing battle in the race to progress to the group phase.

The potential earnings of €20million for reaching the group phase could have big implications on new signings, and Athletic Bilbao are said to be planning on using any potential sum to bring in Monreal.

“The injection of a strong economic quantity for entering the group stage, a guaranteed minimum of €20million, and the need to expand the playing staff of coach Ernesto Valverde to compete in three tournaments lead the club to focus on two players: Nacho Monreal and Asier Illarramendi,” the report states.

The Gunners originally beat Athletic Bilbao to the signing of Monreal as the Spanish international moved to North London from Malaga in January 2013 for a fee believed to be around £8.3million.

Despite desperately needing a left-back at the time, the 28-year-old has featured fleetingly for Arsene Wenger’s team over the past 18 months due to the impressive development of Kieran Gibbs.

This summer, he has long been linked with a move back to Spain with Bilbao taking advantage of his Pamplona background in order to fit in with the club’s strict rules regarding their Basque-only playing staff.

The report goes on to say that sources indicate that a four-year deal has already been agreed between Monreal and the La Liga outfit, with his potential arrival dependent on Wenger bringing in another left-back before the transfer window shuts.

Monreal has represented Arsenal 48 times in all competitions, scoring one goal in that time.

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