Nacho Monreal has been linked with a move to Athletic Club for over four years with the Basques not able to land the veteran left-back. This summer the Lions are expected to make yet another run at the 31-year-old and fortune could finally favor them this time around. Monreal has always remained loyal to Arsenal, but there could now be special circumstances that interest him in a move to the San Mames.
According to a recent report from Juanma Velasco of Marca, if Athletic qualify for the Europa League it would greatly help them make a run at Monreal. With Arsenal missing out on Champions League play, and manager Arsene Wenger possibly leaving the club, the 31-year-old may finally be ready to say goodbye to London.
Wenger has always been Monreal’s biggest fan which has played a major role in his success at the club. If Wenger makes his exit, the Basque defender will have to convince a new manager that he can still play at the highest level in England. Additionally, reports in London suggest that Arsenal are looking to strengthen the left-back position this summer which would give Monreal more competition at the club.
Monreal’s situation at Arsenal aside, there could also be tempting factors at Athletic that could peak his interest. Growing up at Osasuna, Monreal became best friends with Raul Garcia who has become a star at the San Mames since joining the club back in 2015. But Garcia isn’t the only person at Athletic that shares an Osasuna past. Cuco Ziganda coached Monreal at Osasuna’s reserve side before handing him his debut in 2006 when both made the jump to the first team.
Raul Garcia has openly praised Cuco Ziganda and even went as far to say that he is more than qualified to coach Athletic Club. His close friendship with Nacho Monreal could go a long way to bringing the trio back together in Bilbao. Add in the fact that he played under Ziganda for a few years and the reunion may be hard to pass up. Still, if Athletic are to have any hope of signing the defender, they must first qualify for the Europa League.