Iñigo Ruiz de Galarreta is an enigma in Bilbao. The midfielder joined Lezama at just ten years old and every season was the most prolific player in his age group and position. It seemed almost a sure thing that he would eventually be playing regular minutes at the San Mamés, but two horrific knee injuries stunted his progression and saw him ultimately leave the club. After loan spells with Mirandés, Zaragoza, and Leganes, he eventually left Athletic completely and signed with Numancia in the Segunda. After just one season with Numancia, Barcelona B signed him by paying his €800,000 release clause.
This year Galarreta has been one of the standout players for Barcelona B, showing why he was once touted to be something very special at Athletic Club. Because of this, and the fact that it looks like his injuries are behind him, he has caught the eyes of the Lions. According to an exclusive report from El Correo, Athletic Sporting Director José María Amorrortu has been attending games to scout the midfielder and the club is considering making a move for the 24-year-old in the summer.
Signing Galarreta will not be easy. For one, he currently has a €50 million release clause with Barcelona and has could potential figure in the first team under Ernesto Valverde. There are rumors suggesting that he could be available for a fee of €10 million, but that sounds very excessive. To put that into perspective, Athletic could have signed him for €600,000 last summer. El Correo reports that the midfielder had a smaller clause in his contract with Numancia for Athletic Club due to the great relationship between the two. When Barcelona made it known that they were willing to match his €800,000 release clause, Numancia told Athletic who decided to pass on the offer to bring him back to the San Mamés with hopes of landing Mikel Merino.
Justifying a move for €10 million will be very difficult for Amorrortu. That being said, Athletic’s first team could certainly use more creativity which is exactly what Galarreta brings to the pitch. If he continues to play at this high level with Barcelona B there is real reason to believe that the Basque giants will try to sign him next summer. Only time will tell what will happen with this interest, but the fact that Amorrortu is scouting Galarreta says a great deal about how he is being viewed at Ibaigane.