Arsenal have reportedly sent scouts to watch Spanish keeper Gorka Iraizoz.
The 29-old-stopper is regarded as one of the best in La Liga, and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been alerted to the player's availability after news that his contract expires in less than 12 months.
Iraizoz would be allowed to talk to clubs outside of Spain in January over a potential free transfer in the summer. Frenchman Wenger was in the market for a keeper all summer, but reported deals to sign Mark Schwarzer, Gianluigi Buffon and Shay Given all failed to materialise for the Emirates club.
Iraizoz started his career at Baskonia before moving to Bilbao Athletic, Gernika, Espanyol and Eibar on loan. A €4.6 million move to Bilbao in 2007 proved to be the stopper's big break, and the goalkeeper has gone on to make 87 league appearances thus far for Los Leones.
Spanish sources now claim that Arsenal have dispatched scouts to watch the player, with the Gunners watching Iraizoz play against Atletico Madrid at the weekend.
Bilbao are keen to extend the player's contract at San Mames, and remain confident that the stopper will sign a new deal, thus not making a move to suitors like Arsenal. "He has had four good seasons, it will not be a problem because he wants to stay and Athletic want to renew," said coach Joaquin Caparros.
Wenger will hope the lure of Champions League football is too strong for Iraizoz to turn down, with Arsenal desperate to bring a new keeper to north London in their efforts to compete on several fronts.