Basque side to turn to Mikel Arteta after losing playmaker to Manchester United.
La Liga side Athletic Bilbao are looking to Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta as their replacement for the Manchester United-bound Ander Herrera, according to reports in The Metro.
Experienced campaigner Arteta, who has captained Arsenal in recent times, qualifies for Athletic Bilbao’s strict selection criteria having been born in the Basque city of San Sebastian.
Any move made by Bilbao for the former Rangers and Everton midfield, however, would be extremely controversial amongst the club’s fanbase, with Arteta having played for their fierce Basque rivals Real Sociedad.
Arteta has largely been competent for Arsenal and has rarely let them down, but the feeling at the Emirates Stadium may be that Arsene Wenger should look for a younger upgrade on the Spaniard if the Gunners are to progress in the coming season.
A deal may work to the advantage of all parties, then, whilst it would also allow for Arteta to return home after a prolonged period playing in Britain.
Athletic Bilbao are set to return to the Champions League after a long absence next season, with the Basque side having skipped into the vacuum left by Malaga, Valencia and Real Sociedad to secure fourth place in La Liga.
The departure of Herrera has been a blow, however, making it even more imperative that Bilbao are able to keep hold of attacking midfielder Iker Muniain in the face of interest from abroad.