Kike Sola Is Turning Heads At Athletic Club This Summer

When Kike Sola joined Athletic back in 2013 it looked like a truly solid signing. The striker would provide depth in the team, as well as experience and the ability to make the squad better. Fast-forward to today and the story turned out much different. After making only 15 appearances with the Lions, Sola went out on loan to Middlesbrough, Getafe, and most recently Numancia. At all three clubs he found it extremely difficult to play regular minutes and it began to look like his career as a Primera striker was coming to an end. In fact, when he returned to Athletic for preseason training this summer it seemed like it was only a matter of time before he would make his exit once again.

Kike Sola

Kike Sola is making his case to stay at Athletic this season (Athletic Club)

Everyone has been waiting for Sola to struggle in friendlies and eventually move on. It seemed a foregone conclusion that his time at the San Mames was over. If that really is the case, someone should probably tell him.

Sola has played over 90 minutes through Athletic’s first three friendlies and has actually looked quite solid. He is more physical than ever, has an eye for goal, and his positioning and movement have been impeccable. It honestly looks like someone turned on a switch that had previously been off. He doesn’t look like the same striker, or even the same person for that matter. Those who have been around the team’s training sessions say that Sola looks more determined and focused than ever and that is definitely showing on the pitch. In the match against Basel he scored a header to give Athletic a 2-1 lead early in the second half and then in Saturday’s draw with Fenerbahce he was constantly causing problems for defenders, though the match ended in a scoreless draw.

While no one is saying that Sola has already earned a place in this year’s squad, he also isn’t being counted out yet either. For so many it seemed common knowledge that he would be shown the door this summer, but he has surprised and impressed to the point where those same people believe he really does have a chance of staying at Athletic this season. It is obvious that the team needs depth behind Aritz Aduriz and Asier Villalibre may not be ready for that role yet. Inaki Williams and Sabin Merino would be the other two options, but perhaps Sola can now throw his hat into the ring.

The future is still very much a question mark for Kike Sola, but he is clearly more focused and driven than ever. In a recent interview he stated that he has a lot of desire to come back and play for Athletic this season and he is making strides to make that happen. In the end it will be up to Cuco Ziganda to decide who stays and who leaves, but Kike Sola has now made that process much more entertaining going forward. There is no telling what will actually happen with the 31-year-old, but he isn’t going to go down without a fight.

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