It has already been announced that Unai Nunez, Asier Villalibre, and Inigo Cordoba will begin the preseason with the first team. However, there is still one starlet that is waiting to see what his future holds. Andoni Lopez has been a brilliant left-back for Bilbao Athletic and is certainly ready for the jump. That being said, the club has yet to make a decision on where the 21-year-old will play next season.
Right now, there isn’t any clarity on what will happen. Cuco Ziganda would like to keep Lopez at the club in some capacity in case something were to happen to Mikel Balenziaga or Enric Saborit. Still, he knows all too well that the defender needs to continue developing and a move to the Segunda would be a great option to test himself against stronger opponents.
In the end, Ziganda and new Bilbao Athletic manager Gaizka Garitano will likely have to make a decision. It doesn’t appear as though Lopez will be given the chance to train with the first team this summer, so a loan move may be the best option. The 21-year-old is one of the brightest young players in the reserves and could turn out to be Balenziaga’s long term replacement. As always, Athletic will be very careful for their young players so as to prepare them properly and force them into something they are not ready for. Only time will tell where Andoni Lopez will be playing this season.