Asier Illarramendi could be set for a loan move to Athletic Bilbao is reports in Spain are to be believed.
The central midfielder, who played for Bilbao’s bitter rivals Real Sociedad prior to his switch to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer, is set for a temporary exit to get more first team minutes under his belt.
And having sold Ander Herrera to Manchester United last month, Bilbao are looking to add to their midfield as they try to make an impression on the Champions League.
Illarramendi is still seen as the long-term replacement to Xabi Alonso at Los Blancos and the club is not willing to sell the 22-year-old. But having struggled to make his mark in his first season, Carlo Ancelotti is keen to allow the player to build up his confidence and first team minutes away from the pressure-cooker of the Santiago Bernabeu.
Last season he played only 1388 minutes of La Liga football compared to the 2712 he played with Real Sociedad in his last season at Anoeta prior to his 32 million euro move last July.
Although signing for Bilbao would see him become a hate figure at his former club, playing regular football in La Liga and in the Champions League would help him progress.