Arsenal FC left-back Nacho Monreal is close to completing a a 10 million switch to basque-side Athletic Bilbao, after having agreed a three-year-contract, according to Spanish Newspaper AS.

The Arsenal FC defender has established himself as the first choice left back at The Emirates ahead of Englishman Kieran Gibbs, with a series of consistent solid displays for the Gunners last season. However, with only a year left on his contract, and the defender approaching the 30-year mark, Arsene Wenger may be tempted to sell the Spaniard.

Monreal fits the ‘Basque-only’ criteria of Bilbao

The former Malaga and AS Osasuna defender, fits the club’s unwritten but mandatory, ‘Basque-only’ policy, and according to AS, manager Arsene Wenger has been pondering whether the Spaniard’s contract be extended or not. The 29-year-old has a clause in his contract, which allows the Gunners to trigger a one year extension, keeping him at the Emirates till 2017.

If Monreal leaves, it would leave the North London outfit, short at the left back position, with only the injury prone Kieran Gibbs to count on, something a club of Arsenal’s stature and ambitions, looking to compete for the Premier League will not force itself in, unless they are confident of concluding a deal for another player.

Spaniard out, Ghoulam in?

However, reputed Journalist Kike Marin of the El Confidencial has reported that, however, Arsene Wenger is willing to cash in on the Spaniard, a transfer is unlikely to happen until a replacement or an upgrade is signed.

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Considering the shortage of World Class full-back’s in the world, finding an improvement or an able replacement may be difficult. The names of Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam has been touted as a potential replacement, with the gunners eyeing a a 10 million deal for the 24-year-old. Bayern Munich’s David Alaba is also said to be on the radar of the Gunners, with Alaba having previously professed his love for Arsenal.

If the Gunners are indeed able to pull off the signing of Alaba, a definite upgrade, it would be further proof of Wenger’s new found ruthlessness, moving on one-dimensional players to bring in players who can offer that special something.