Chelsea and Arsenal given transfer notice from Athletic Bilbao manager

A week ago we found a report in Spain from Mundo Deportivo which claimed Athletic Club Bilbao were set for talks with Arsenal about a loan move for defender Nacho Monreal. It appeared to come from nowhere and was instantly dismissed, probably correctly, by most Arsenal fans. The club would be short without Monreal and he's popular among team mates and supporters, there's no immediate need for a return to Spain as long as he's getting minutes on the pitch. 

If Monreal wasn't getting appearances then his World Cup squad place would be seriously questionable. He started against Marseille in the Champions League, an appearance sandwiched between two ten minute Premier League outings against Southampton and Cardiff City.

César Azpilicueta is in a similar situation at Chelsea but is slowly working his way more into Jose Mourinho's plans. Both clubs will want to keep their players and would no doubt be unwilling for a loan, but that hasn't stopped reports of Athletic interest building.

Ahead of the club's La Liga match against Barcelona, manager Ernesto Valverde was asked about his interest in both players and did little to damped the rumours. Quoted by El Correo, Valverde said "They are players with great teams (Arsenal and Chelsea) and it's not only assessing what the coach could want, but also another set of circumstances. They are good players and could be a target of Athletic."

El Correo say that in the case of Azpilicueta, the Bilbao club had proposed the idea of a loan with an option to make the move permanent, something they say didn't appeal to Chelsea. 

It's a strange one and Arsenal or Chelsea would have to be very flexible to agree to a deal but it could be beneficial to strike up a good relationship with Athletic, given the young talent at the club. 

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