Arsenal target has 'desire to play in England'

Athletic Bilbao

According to reports, Athletic Bilbao centre-back Fernando Amorebieta is ‘in talks’ with Arsenal over the possibility of a summer move to the Emirates.

The 27-year-old Venezuelan’s brother leaked to the press that despite interest from super-rich Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala, Amorebieta would prefer a move to the North Londoners.

"We have had contacts with Anzhi, who are very interested in his services, but given the desire to play in England, that move cannot take place,” claimed his brother.

"We are in contact with Arsenal."

It has been noted previously that Arsene Wenger had Arsenal scouts regularly attend Athletico Bilbao fixtures in the past. Amorebieta worked his way up through the Bilbao youth system and into a regular spot in the first team where he has made 193 appearances.

He originally expressed an interest in representing Spain at international level and even made Spain U19s whom he appeared for 4 times. However, upon realising his path to the senior team was blocked by the likes of Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos to name but a few, he opted to represent Venezuela instead.

At 6ft4” he could handle the physicality of the Premier League as well as being well-drilled on how to defend against some of the best array of attacking talent on the planet week in, week out.

He combines the height of Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker with the pace of Laurent Koscielny – he makes for a decent target man in the box from set-pieces at the other end of the field as well.

His current contract with Bilbao expires next summer, making him not only a tempting prospect for a manager as fragile as Arsene Wenger this summer as his reluctance to sign a new contract will likely make Bilbao more open to offers, being reluctant to lose him on a free transfer in 2014.

The Gunners’ boss will likely be in the market for at least one centre-back in the next window after sending both Johan Djourou on loan and with Sebastien Squillaci’s contract expiring at the end of this season.

Perhaps Amorebieta is just one of several candidates or perhaps he’s the one the boss wants – according to his brother, he’s certainly open to the suggestion.

image: © birasuegi

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