Much has been made of the fact that Athletic Club has gone two straight summers without signings a new player. The last outside transfer was Raúl García back in 2015 and the club has failed to make any other moves since then. Instead, the Lions have relied heavily on their Lezama academy, promoting six players in the last year alone. On the final day of Spain’s transfer window, Athletic finally announced a new signing, but it comes with a wrinkle.
On Friday Athletic Club officially announced the signing of Eibar right-back Ander Capa. The 25-year-old was entering the final year of his contract and would have been free to negotiate with other clubs in January after refusing to sign a new contract. Athletic have already reached an agreement that will see Capa join the club on 1 July, 2018. The Lions did have to pay a transfer fee of €3 million, which is likely due to the fact that negotiations took place before January.
Capa will immediately bring immense depth and quality to the team. He has quickly become one of the best right-backs in La Liga, attracting interest from clubs like FC Barcelona, but he is also capable of playing on the wing. The fact that he also spent three years at Lezama is another pulling point for the club and fans alike. Capa will play this year with Eibar before joining Athletic in July, so it will be interesting to chart his progression and form in his final season at Ipurua.
Athletic also announced that Ander Capa’s contract will run for four years and will also contain a €50 million release clause. Next year the right-back positional battle will be the one to watch during the preseason with Capa competing with Oscar De Marcos, Iñigo Lekue, and Eneko Bóveda. With the 25-year-old also able to play on the right wing, he could give coverage to Iñaki Williams who may soon replace Aritz Aduriz when the 36-year-old decides to retire. Regardless of how Ander Capa is used, he will bring quality to Athletic Club and immediately make the team stronger.