A little over one year ago two Bilbao Athletic center-backs were called up to train with the first team during the summer in hopes of earning a regular place in the team. By the end of the preseason Yeray had convinced then manager Ernesto Valverde while Óscar Gil was sent on loan to Real Oviedo in the Segunda. The Lezama product was hoping to prove himself while on loan but only ended up playing in only 14 league matches due to an injury and increased competition in the team. Now, one year later, his future at the club is a big question mark.
Before his contract ran out this summer the 22-year-old signed an extension with Athletic with the intention of returning to the Segunda for another loan spell. So far he has yet to receive any real offer which has complicated things. Over the past few weeks he has been training with Bilbao Athletic and even started for the reserve side over the weekend to kick off the new season. Athletic went as far to add his photograph on the Bilbao Athletic team page of their official website.
Sources close to the situation claim that the defender will continue at Bilbao Athletic this season unless he receives a loan offer from a club in the Segunda. Gil is hoping to get an offer that will allow him to play regular minutes but so far he has had no luck. While staying with the reserves will give new manager Gaizka Garitano a strong and experienced defender to help fight for promotion, it will definitely be seen as a step back for the 22-year old.
Garitano is sure to be excited about the possibility of keeping Gil in the team. The defender has already proven to be a leader and capable player in the division and is very experienced. If Bilbao Athletic really is serious about fighting for promotion, having a player like Óscar Gil in the team would go a long way. Normally if a player is close to leaving on loan they will not compete in matches, but Gil’s start last weekend is really telling about his situation. While this will be seen as a step backwards, playing every week at a high level for the reserve side could actually be just what the 22-year-old needs to jumpstart his Athletic career.