Nacho Monreal
Arsenal are unlikely to allow Monreal to depart unless they move to strengthen at left-back. Getty

Nacho Monreal insists he is currently happy at Arsenal following rumours that he may be set for a return to La Liga with Athletic Bilbao.

The Spanish left-back arrived in the Premier League from Malaga in January 2013, yet struggled to hold down a first-team berth behind Kieran Gibbs at the Emirates Stadium and made just 22 top-flight starts during his first one-and-a-half seasons at the club.

Despite Monreal increasing that number last term to 37 appearances in all competitions, recent transfer speculation has linked him with a move away from Arsenal this summer.

Reports relayed by The Telegraph earlier this week claimed that long-term suitors Athletic were close to signing the player for a £7m ($10.9m fee) and were prepared to present him with a three-year deal.

Such claims may prove to be wide of the mark, however, with Monreal happy to be receiving more regular first-team football and also given a timely reminder of the Gunners' global standing during a pre-season tour in Southeast Asia.

"I'm very happy at Arsenal," Monreal told Goal in Singapore, where Arsenal today (18 July) won the Barclays Asia Trophy following a 3-1 win over Everton that featured goals from Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil.

"Of course I enjoyed playing in a lot of the games last season and that is the target again – that is all I can say right now.

"When you play for Arsenal, you know they are one of the biggest clubs in England but, here in Singapore, you see they are also one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"The reception we get from the fans everywhere we go is amazing to see for the players and we are very happy to be here with them."

While Monreal claims he is content to stay put for now, rumours originating from Spain claim that both he and Athletic are waiting on the outcome of Arsenal's negotiations over the proposed transfer of Faouzi Ghoulam.

Spanish daily Marca suggests that the club have submitted a bid worth €10m (£6.9m) to sign the Algerian international and although it appears that Napoli have no intention of sanctioning his exit at this time, it is believed that Monreal could ask to leave in the event that competition for places is increased by Ghoulam moving to North London.

The 29-year-old has two years remaining on his contract at Arsenal, but is surely unlikely to accept being relegated to second-choice status under Wenger once again.