Bilbao Athletic will begin preseason training on 13 July for the first time under Gaizka Garitano. The new manager has taken over for Cuco Ziganda who made the jump to the first team and Garitano must now decide his squad for the upcoming season. The Cachorros are hoping to compete for promotion once again, but the most important thing at Lezama is player development.
There are currently two players who have come into question due to injury concern – Aitor Seguin and Unai Bilbao. Winger Seguin tore his ACL two seasons ago and just wasn’t the same player last year. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Íñigo Córdoba and only played in seven matches last campaign. Unles the 22-year-old can rediscover his form, his time at Athletic may be coming to an end. Unai Bilbao enjoyed a productive season under Ziganda last season, featuring in 23 matches and playing over 1,800 minutes. In fact, it was recently reported that he will sign a contract renewal and may play a big role at Bilbao Athletic next season or be loaned to the Segunda. However, the defender suffered a shoulder injury which could limit his production.
According to a report from Javi Beltran of AS, Barakaldo is interested in signing both player this summer, possibly on loan, and new manager Aitor Larrazabal views them as perfect additions to the squad.
Gaizka Garitano will ultimately be the one who will have to make the decision, but he does understand that player development is the most important thing in his role as Bilbao Athletic. If he believes that Seguin and Bilbao would be better off on loan at Barakaldo he may accept the offer. For Aitor Seguin this could be the perfect move to get his career back on track, but it is a much different case for Unai Bilbao. With Unai Nunez likely taking the next step in his career, it is hard to imagine that Bilbao would not play a major role under Garitano. The only factors that could lead to a loan move would be a concern over his shoulder injury or his age. The defender is already 23 and doesn’t seem to have a path to the first team. Barakaldo will also be looking to compete for promotion and they are hopeful of signing both Bilbao Athletic players this summer.