To close out the summer transfer window, Athletic President Josu Urrutia held a press conference on Friday to discuss the state of the club. He was immediately asked about contract renewal negotiations, such as what is going on with Kepa Arrizabalaga, but said that it would not help anything to talk about them publicly, but that he is optimistic. He also made it clear that there have been no last minute offers from clubs trying to buy Athletic players.
“There is no benefit to talk about ongoing negotiations like Kepa’s I’m always optimistic when I talk about Athletic because this is a different and unique club and everybody has a lot of excitement. It is a huge privilege to be able to play here. We don’t have to be in too much of a hurry. Interest from other clubs in our players? We have no news. I suppose clubs will continuously keep their attention on players who perform well. For us, it is important to continue giving opportunities to the kids and see how they respond. I would like a club that values players economically and Athletic does that, but release clauses protect players in a different way. I’m surprised by anti-Athletic clauses, but some league do not even have release clauses. I want a competitive team that does not give up and comes back stronger when they do not do well.”
The President was also asked about Youssouf Diarra, who recently joined feeder club CD Basconia, and the potential issues with his meeting Athletic’s Basque-only policy. Urrutia said that everyone at the club is able to meet the requirements, while also refusing to discuss Mikel Merino and Alex Berenguer who the club was unable to sign this summer.
“He fulfills the philosophy like everyone else who is here. Formed or born here. It is true that the world is changing and 10% of the Basque Country are immigrants. They have integrated into the Basque society and could potentially play for Athletic. Mikel Merino? I won’t talk about that because he is not here, he plays for Newcastle. I have to worry about the players that are here. I do not know that Merino would have a place in Athletic because Beñat has done very well, so has San Jose, and Iturraspe and Vesga of course. I’m not worried about players who aren’t here. I’m worried that Córdoba will maintain his level, that Vesga is growing and competing, and now that Capa can help our team.”
Urrutia did announce that Athletic Club have signed Eibar right-back Ander Capa who will join the club in July. Capa spent three years at Lezama and his transfer will cost the club €3 million. The 25-year-old will sign a four year contract with Athletic that will also contain a €50 million release clause. Athletic Club will be back in action on 10 September when they will host newly promoted Girona at the San Mamés.