Arsenal in talks with Athletic Bilbao to sign defender Fernando Amorebieta

By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal are in talks to sign Athletic Bilbao centre-back Fernando Amorebieta and Malaga left-back Nacho Monreal, Goal.com can confirm.

The Londoners have centred their deadline-day sights on Spain as Arsene Wenger makes a late bid to shore up his leaky defence.

The fee being discussed for Amorebieta, a 27-year-old centre-half, is between £4million and £6m.

Monreal, a 26-year-old Spain international, has emerged as Wenger’s specialist left-back target to provide competition for Kieran Gibbs, who suffered a thigh injury against Liverpool on Wednesday night.

The Gunners boss faces a race against the clock to bring in the new players from La Liga, while he is also trying to off-load Andre Santos to Fenerbahce.

Goal.com revealed on Thursday morning that Arsene Wenger was planning a late swoop for a proven defender in a bid to shore up his leaky defence.

One option that had been considered by Wenger was to bring in a centre-half and switch versatile skipper Thomas Vermaelen to left-back.

He made a move for Amorebieta, a Venezuela international, after learning of his availability.

Bilbao president Josu Urrutia revealed on Wednesday that the club had withdrawn a contract offer made three weeks ago and admitted that “we cannot say that Amorebieta will be an Athletic player next season”.

Wenger wants at least one permanent signing to integrate into his defence, who have struggled against top quality opposition this season.

The manager is reluctant to use Gibbs’ deputy Santos at left-back during the absence of the Englishman, which is expected to be for around three weeks.

Santos’ former club Fenerbahce remain keen on taking the Brazilian back to Turkey and a deal is possible if they can match his wages.

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