Liverpool's Mikel San Jose hopeful of permanent move to Athletic Bilbao

Defender admits he would prefer to remain in Basque Country...
Mikel San Jose rejoined Athletic Bilbao on loan from Liverpool last summer in search of first team football in order to advance his career, but after a frustrating first few months in the Basque Country it appeared that he could end his loan spell early.

However, injuries to Aitor Ocio and Ustaritz Aldekoaotalora gave him the opportunity that he craved and the 20-year-old has now established himself in Los Leones' first team. In an interview with AS, the defender has revealed that he is keen to join the Basque side on a permanent basis in the summer.

"At the moment I'm not concerning myself with this topic - there are people who are aware of the situation and I'm focused on playing," he revealed.

"What happens, happens. I'm happy here and, if it's possible, I would like to stay here.

"Things have changed a lot since I first came here. When I wasn't playing I was still happy and now I am enjoying more minutes. There's nothing that would make staying here a bad option."

A clause in San Jose's loan deal allows Athletic to sign him for €3m from Liverpool, who he joined in 2007 for a fee of around €300,000. The Pamplona-born defender never broke into the Reds' first team, and it is now likely that Athletic will take up their option to re-sign the centre back in the summer.