Fulham agree deal to sign Athletic Bilbao defender Amorebieta

The Venezuelan centre-back, who was a target for Arsenal in the January transfer window, has penned a pre-contract agreement to move to Craven Cottage in the summer
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Fulham have agreed a deal to sign Athletic Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta in the summer, Goal.com understands.

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The Venezuelan centre-back has signed a pre-contract with the Londoners and will move to Craven Cottage when his Athletic agreement expires at the end of the season.

Amorebieta, who came close to joining Arsenal on the last day of the January window, is believed to have rejected other offers from across Europe because of his desire to switch to a Premier League club in London.

The Athletic star declined fresh terms at the San Mames earlier in 2013 to push for a move and bring an end to his eight-year spell at the Spanish club.

Arsenal dropped their interest after failing to push through a deal on deadline day but Fulham took advantage of his availability to land a notable free transfer. Russian big-spenders Anzhi were believed to have been one of the other clubs closely pursuing the Venezuela international.

Amorebieta represented Spain at Under-19s level and was called up to the senior squad in 2008 without playing but changed his affiliation and chose to play for the country of his birth.

The defender had been eligible for Athletic as his parents are Basque and he was raised in the region.

The 28-year-old will bring great pedigree to the Fulham back line next season, which was recently boosted by captain Brede Hangeland's decision to sign a new two-year contract.