It isn’t over yet. After trimming the squad by three players manager Kuko Ziganda has admitted that a few more will have to leave as well in order to get to a better number. In a recent interview he admitted that at least one of Asier Villalibre or Kike Sola will be leaving the team, and it is still possible that both could be on the way out. Villalibre, who is still only 19, knows that he needs regular minutes in order to continue developing as a footballer. If the decision is made for the young striker to leave on loan, he will definitely have plenty of suitors.
According to a new report from Javier Beltran of AS, Real Valladolid is interested in signing Villalibre on loan for the upcoming season and have made that known to Athletic. They view the striker a someone who could add quality to their team and fill a major role up front in attack.
Over the years Athletic has loaned several players to Valladolid such as Kepa Arrizabalaga and Markel Etxeberria who joined last year. Etxeberria barely featured for the Segunda which Athletic does not want to happen to Villalibre. If Ziganda does elect to send the Lezama product on loan, he will looking for guaranteed minutes. At Valladolid Villalibre would have to compete with Jaime Mata for the starting role, but he would also have a very strong chance of earning that place in the team. Right now Mata is the only striker in the whole squad and was only able to score five goals in 28 matches last season. The club wants to upgrade the position and has their eyes set on Villalibre.
Real Valladolid aren’t the only club interested in Villalibre. Numancia is also willing to take him on loan after he joined them for the last month of last season. During that time he started in all but one match, but it should also be noted that the reason he joined them was because they had a lot of injuries in the team. As is always the case with youth, Athletic are going to be very careful with Villalibre. The Lions will not put him in a position to fail or make a decision that will limit his opportunities. He is being viewed as a strong candidate to be the striker of the future and it is times like these when clubs have to make the right decisions to help young stars develop.