​Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal has emerged as a target for Athletic Bilbao who are eager to fill the void left by ​Manchester City bound Aymeric Laporte


The 31-year-old was tipped for a return to La Liga in the summer before staying on board to become one of Arsene Wenger's most consistent players this season, having featured 22 times for the Gunners so far this season. 


However, with Premier League rivals Man City set to poach the highly-rated Laporte, Monreal is set to be subject to serious interest from the Spanish outfit, according to ​Mundo Deportivo

​​City are prepared to trigger Laporte's £60m release clause as they look to reinforce the heart of their defence as Vincent Kompany and John Stones continue to be hampered by injury. 


The pursuit ensures Athletic are on the lookout for a replacement as they will be light on left-footed central defenders, with the report claiming Monreal or Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez are the front-runners for the position. 


With Sociedad a fierce rival it is unlikely they will sanction a move for Martinez, resulting in 31-year-old Monreal as the most likely replacement for Laporte. 

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However, for all of Athletic's want the Gunners are unlikely to sanction a deal for another of their experienced players having already departed with Alexis Sanchez, with the likes of Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud also reported to be leaving the Emirates this month. 


Monreal joined Arsenal in 2013 from Malaga where he has gone on to make over 150 appearances for the Gunners, collecting three FA Cups and three Community Shields along the way. 

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