Following an outstanding campaign with Bilbao Athletic last season, Mikel Vesga was officially promoted to the first team over the summer. The midfielder faced stiff competition for minutes despite being a great depth option and was finally sent on loan to Sporting Gijon in January. The move gave the 23-year-old the chance to compete for regular playing time and it couldn’t have worked out any better for him.
Vesga has only been at Sporting for a few months, but he is a mainstay in the starting lineup. His ability to read play and make stops in the midfield has helped Sporting become a stronger team, as has his physicality and strength in the air. Additionally, playing more frequently has seen a major improvement in his passing game which, to this point, has never really been considered a strength. Vesga has gone from a player just trying to see more of the field, to an unquestioned starter on a Primera club.
In his 10 games with Sporting, Vesga is averaging nearly 3 tackles and interceptions per game. He is also completing over 75% of his passes and just under 3 long balls per game. The 23-year-old is quickly becoming a more well-rounded footballer who can create chances for his teammates and wreak havoc on opponents defensively. He has been arguably the best player in the Sporting team since January and fans of the club have fallen in love with him at El Molinon.
It is clear that Mikel Vesga has earned his place in the Athletic Club squad next season. He is no longer a newly promoted player hoping to prove himself, but rather a confident footballer who has shown that he can play in La Liga. The only problem is that he will still have heavy competition at the San Mames. Mikel San Jose, Benat, Ander Iturraspe, and Mikel Rico will be sitting in front of him and there is a chance that the Lions could sign Mikel Merino this summer as well. Luckily for the 23-year-old, Athletic desperately need more depth in the team and there is no denying that he can provide just that.
Figuring out what his role will be next year is difficult. He likely won’t play regular minutes, especially if Mikel Merino is brought in, but he would give the team a strong player off the bench as well as filling in for others when called upon. It will be up to Vesga to decide if that is the role he wants to have next season, but there is no reason to believe that he can’t continue to improve and fight for a more vital role within the squad. One thing is for sure, Mikel Vesga has officially arrived as a La Liga midfielder and he is ready to showcase that talent at the San Mames next season.