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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UK
Bilbao enter race for Del Horno
Asier del Horno
Del Horno has spent just one season at Chelsea
Chelsea's Spanish international Asier Del Horno could return to former side Athletic Bilbao a year after they sold him to the Blues for 8m.

On Monday, Valencia president Juan Bautista Soler said his club's bid to sign him was "at an advanced stage" but now Bilbao have entered the race too.

"We are ready to equal the 7m euros (4.8m) offer made by Valencia," said Bilbao president Fernando Lamikiz.

"Then we'd have to analyse the player's salary and negotiate with him."

I would love to return to the Primera Liga

Asier del Horno

The 25-year-old made 25 league appearances for Chelsea last season but missed the end of the season and the World Cup because of injury.

Despite his enthusiasm for Del Horno, Soler said Valencia had other options as a back-up in case the move did not come off.

Del Horno has returned to pre-season training with Chelsea but admits he would welcome a move back to Spain.

"I would love to return to the Primera Liga because it's a competition that I am very familiar with," he told Valencian newspaper Las Provincias.

"I am very honoured by the interest from Valencia.

"For the time being, though, my club is Chelsea and for that reason I have gone to pre-season training with them."

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