Arsenal ready to swoop for Bilbao defender

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Arsenal are ready to make a move for Athletic Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta - and could land their man for a reduced fee as he moves closer to the end of his contract.

Bilbao had offered Amorebieta a new deal to keep him at the San Mames Stadium - but withdrew the offer after the 27-year-old reportedly asked for more money.

According to Spanish newspaper AS, Bilbao are consigned to losing another first team regular following Fernando Llorente's decision to join Juventus at the end of the season, and Arsenal could capitalise on the situation by lodging a bid in the summer.

AS report that the Gunners are ready to offer Amorebieta a contract of their own in order to bolster their defensive ranks.

Bilbao are said to be willing to negotiate a reduced fee with Arsenal in order to avoid a protracted departure like Llorente's, which has dominated the headlines this season.

Bilbao reportedly offered the defender a €1.8 million-a-season deal to stay put - but club president Josu Urrutia admitted last month that as it stands he will be on his way out in the summer.

“From my last appearance to now there have been some changes,” he said.

“I said at that time that the club had put forward a proposal with an indefinite time limit to it. After several conversations with the representatives of Amorebieta and seeing that it was not being accepted, Athletic withdrew the proposal.

“The club had made an offer for the player which showed that he was valued, he had the time to decide and the club have now decided, having seen that the proposal was not being accepted and withdrawn it.

“Will Amorebieta be here next season? At this moment, no. Amorebieta has no contract offer from Athletic.”

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