As Athletic Club have been busy preparing for their upcoming Europa League clash with Dinamo Bucuresti on Thursday, Kuko Ziganda has also been working on trimming down the first team squad. Alex Remiro has already been sent on loan to Huesca and Javi Eraso was recently allowed to leave for free to return to Leganes. The moves were not going to be finished there and on Tuesday the Lions announced the third departure of this summer.
Following Tuesday’s training session Athletic officially announced that midfielder Unai Lopez has joined Segunda club Rayo Vallecano on loan for the entire 2017-2018 season. The 21-year-old is expected to play a major role in the squad.
Lopez’s exit has been expected for some time now. In addition to the midfield being overcrowded, he was left off of the club’s Europa League squad. When Athletic eventually announced the Europa League B squad, Lopez was again missing. It was rumored that newly promoted Getafe was interested in signing the midfielder, but Rayo Vallecano will be his new home for the next football season. After spending last year on loan at Leganes in the Primera, some are viewing this latest move as a step backwards for the promising Lezama graduate.
It is important to remember that Lopez is still just 21 years old. He is still developing and growing as a footballer and Athletic have placed the priority on playing regular minutes. It is likely that he could have joined a Primera club, but that he would not have seen regular minutes. Making the move to Rayo will almost certainly guarantee a starting role for the midfielder. With the Athletic midfield constantly growing and improving, this will be a very important year for Unai Lopez to prove that he belongs at the San Mamés.