Enric Saborit is something of an enigma. For the majority of his Athletic Club career he has been viewed as a player who just isn’t quite good enough to compete at the highest level, but has stayed in the team and received contract renewals. This year has been his best so far after being thrust into a regular starting role due to injuries to Mikel Balenziaga. Still, his future at the San Mamés is as cloudy as ever.
Last year the club chose to exercise a clause in Saborit’s contract that automatically extended his deal for another season, and that will be up in June. With just a few months remaining the 25-year-old has yet to hear anything from the club regarding a renewal, although it should be noted that the club didn’t exercise his clause last year until after Easter. Still, Saborit is technically free to negotiate with other clubs now and could be on his way out of Bilbao.
Saborit was recently a guest on Radio Popular and revealed that he would like to stay at Athletic, but also admitted that he has had offers from other clubs. The left-back wants to be valued and would like a long term deal instead of another one-year contract.
“I have always said that, if you value me like I believe I should be valued, then this is my home. Here I have my family, my partner, and I would be very happy to stay. I will finish my contract soon, so I’m a free player so to speak, and I have had offers [from other clubs]. I have not spoken to Athletic, but last year we didn’t talk until after Easter. I’m in no hurry to talk about these issues. I am not thinking about whether I have more or less options abroad. I think the best thing would be a contract for more years than one. That gives stability and continuity, but I’m not thinking about that yet.”
The Lezama product went on to admit that there is no timeframe for negotiations to take place and that he is calm. He recognizes that there is competition in the team, something that he believes is good for the club. In the end, he just wants to help the clubs and recognizes that his role thus far has been that of a substitute.
“There is no date for negotiations. When the club and I believe that there is a deadline to make a decision, we can talk and decide. It is true that there is competition and I think that is a good thing for the club. They [Athletic] have other options and so do I. That is why I am calm. In the end, my life as a footballer in the first team has always been that way. I’m not afraid. I’ve been competing with Balenziaga for years and I’ve had to play as a substitute. What I want to do is help the team. In fact, Balenziaga is already exercising without discomfort and that is good for everyone.”
In closing, Saborit stated that he believes he has taken a step forward in his growth as a defender, while acknowledging that he can also play further up the field. He says that he has a good relationship with manager Kuko Ziganda and that he is happy with his performances this season.
“I have not had much continuity in the first team, even this year. It is true that I have been able to play more defensively, but I can also play further up. Defensively I am at my best and I think I have taken a step forward defensively. I have a good relationship with Ziganda. When I haven’t played that has been his decision and I accept it. There is no problem. Now I’m feeling very good. I think I’m playing at a good level and I’m happy with my performance.”
Enric Saborit’s future is very much a question mark at this point. If he is given an extension by Athletic he will be competing with Mikel Balenziaga and Cristian Ganea next season, which means that playing time will be tight. For right now there is no word on what the club plans to do, but there is still plenty of time to negotiate a new deal if that is what Athletic wants to do. Still, Saborit is free to talk with other clubs and the closer we get to the summer the clearer his future should become.