Athletic’s Basque-only policy makes their purchase pool much smaller than other football clubs, but that doesn’t mean the Lions don’t have options. Naturally, they keep a close eye on their local rivals and that can make purchasing new players even more difficult. Bitter rivals like Real Sociedad have often taken to shielding their players with higher release clauses for Athletic. The only way around this is for Athletic to try to pounce on La Real players before it reaches that point, much like they did with Unai Lopez several years back. Getting their hands on first team players is nearly impossible, but they do have their eye on someone knew.
Alvaro Odriozola burst onto the scene a few months ago and has quickly become the starting right-back for the San Sebastian outfit. His ability to cycle possession and join attack has made him dangerous in La Liga and he has even given two assists in only nine matches. In fact, he has played so well lately that he was called up to Spain’s U21 squad and started against Denmark a few days ago.
Unlike most of the players at Real, his contract is still approachable for Athletic. His current deal is set to expire in 2018 and his release clause is set ay €30 million. While this is still very high, it is a number that Athletic can match if they believe he is worth the payment. With his contract running out in one year, La Real should begin working on an extension soon that would also raise his release clause.
According to rumors, Athletic are monitoring Odriozola carefully. The club wants to take a close look at the defender before he extends his contract to see if he is worth pursuing in the summer. Athletic’s right-back situation is strong with Oscar De Marcos, Eneko Boveda, and Inigo Lekue all able to play at a high level. For now it is unlikely that they will seriously pursue Odriozola, but it is wise for the Lions to do their due diligence with such a promising young star.