On Tuesday morning Athletic officially announced that the club would be spending eight days of the preseason in Switzerland. The Lions will train in the mountains near Sion and play in three friendly matches against Servette, Sion FC, and Fenerbahce. Cuco Ziganda will take his entire squad, but will be without Kepa Arrizabalaga and Inaki Williams who will still be serving international duty with Spain’s U21 squad. In order to have enough keepers, Ziganda will bring youth with him as well.
Simon is the latest young keeper to come out of Lezama and he has shown a lot of promise. Like Kepa and Alex Remiro, Simon is tall and strong and has great positional awareness. He will continue as the starter for Bilbao Athletic this season, who will begin preseason training on 13 July. With Kepa not able to travel with the team to Switzerland, Ziganda needed someone to take his place and didn’t think twice about calling Simon for the trip.
Cuco Ziganda will have a very difficult decision to make this summer. Kepa is the starter without question and the plan is for Iago Herrerin to return to the role of backup and cup keeper. However, the 29-year-old has been outspoken about not wanting to be a reserve player. If Ziganda can convince him to serve in that role, then Alex Remiro will be sent on loan to the Segunda where Almeria and Cultural Leonesa are hoping to sign him. Athletic has a problem in the fact that they have too many capable goalkeepers with not enough minutes to go around. It is an issue that will need to be resolved, but the vast majority of clubs across Europe wish they had the same problem to deal with.