Athletic Bilbao are still reportedly keen on bringing Nacho Monreal to La Liga and could apparently do so as soon as January.

Recently, the left-back claimed to be happy at Arsenal but around the same time also praised Bilbao while refusing to close the door on a move there.

“I do not close the door to anyone,” he said.

“I’ve heard wonders of Athletic.”

However, in another he said:

“I am very happy. Malaga was very difficult to leave because people treated me great and I lived well. But when you get a call from a team like Arsenal you do not think. I played and it went well.

“The beginning was very hard, I had to acclimatise. It was another country, another city, another language, another culture, another style of football. You start from scratch. In that sense I am a player who has trouble conforming. It has always happened to me. I suffered a lot, but I have been settled and I am delighted.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Adama Traore of Middlesbrough and Nacho Monreal of Arsenal compete for the ball during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Middlesbrough at the Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 22: Adama Traore of Middlesbrough and Nacho Monreal of Arsenal compete for the ball during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Middlesbrough at the Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The 30-year-old has under three years left on his contract in north London so there’s no panic either way. However, he is a first team player. Although he’s not necessarily been up to his usual standard so far this season, he’s still solid and a useful squad member. In fact, since joining Arsenal in 2013, he’s made 143 appearances.

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We only paid Malaga £10m for Monreal and it’s not hard to see us getting a profit on that if we were to sell him to Bilbao, as the reports claim we could in January. However, it’s not just a matter of money. He’s a first team player and I think Arsenal are really trying to stay away from selling the starting XI as much as possible.

We need to keep this group together.