Kepa Arrizabalaga
Kepa's current contract at Athletic will expire at the end of the season. Getty Images

Athletic Bilbao have revealed that Kepa Arrizabalaga has suffered an ill-time injury to his right foot amid recurrent reports linking the contract rebel goalkeeper with a January move to Real Madrid.

Kepa's future at San Mames has been under major scrutiny in recent times with his contact at the club set to expire at the end of the current season.

Arsenal, Juventus and other big European clubs were said to be monitoring the situation closely ahead of luring him as a free-agent during the upcoming summer transfer window.

The 23-year-old has garnered a reputation as one of the most promising stoppers around Europe, having already established himself as a regular member of the Spain squad squad ahead of the World Cup 2018 alongside Manchester United's David De Gea and Napoli's Pepe Reina.

Earlier this month Marca reported that Real were ready to sign Kepa once the transfer window reopens in January to provide competition for Keylor Navas ahead of the second half of the season.

Los Blancos would be able to sign him as a free-agent in the summer but the Spanish publication claimed that the 12-time European champions are willing to pay a fee in excess of his €20m (£17.6m, $23.5m) release clause to complete the move in January.

Zinedie Zidane failed to deny that speculation last week after delivering an abrupt response when asked whether he could guarantee that Kepa won't join Real in January.

"But you're telling me one thing that ... well ... I'm not here to talk about that. I'm here to talk about the game and nothing else. The rest... We are here with the players and I do not think about anything else," Zidane said in a press conference ahead of the Fifa Club World Cup.

Speculation increased over the weekend after Kepa was left out of the Athletic squad for the crucial Basque derby against Real Sociedad on Saturday (16 December).

Athletic manager Cuco Ziganda claimed that the k'eeper was injured but some reports in Spain questioned that and linked Kepa's absence with his propose move to Real.

However, Athletic have now shed some light on the confusing situation by releasing an official update which confirms that Kepa did indeed suffer an injury.

"The tests carried out showed an incomplete fracture, produced by repetitive micro-trauma, at the base of the second metatarsal of the right foot. [The recovery] is pending evolution." Athletic confirmed through an official statement.