Arsenal and Chelsea stars interest Athletic Bilbao

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Arsenal full-back Nacho Monreal and his compatriot at Chelsea Cesar Azpilicueta have emerged as potential targets for Athletic Bilbao as the Primera Division club aim to recruit a full-back in the January transfer window.

Athletic have a long-standing interest in Monreal having attempted to recruit the player in the summer of last year, but he moved to the Emirates Stadium from Malaga six months later.

Ernesto Valverde's want for reinforcements in wide defensive positions has led to renewed links with Monreal, and a potential loan move from Arsenal in the January transfer window has been suggested in the Spanish press.

A similar move for Azpilicueta has also been mooted, with both he and Monreal needing more regular first-team action if they harbour serious hopes to secure a place in Vicente del Bosque's squad next year.

"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," Valverde told El Correo when asked about the two players (as translated by Sport Witness).

"They are good players and could be a target of Athletic."

Monreal has not been afforded a single start in the Premier League by Arsene Wenger this season, instead making nine appearances as a substitute. The 27-year-old, however, claimed last month that not playing for the Gunners has been helping his Brazil prospects.

Azpilicueta, meanwhile, has been used by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho only five times in the league this term, with two of these appearances being starts.

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