Athletic Club’s search for a new manager has been an ongoing topic for a few months now. At first it looked certain that Asier Garitano would take over in the summer, but due to a recent drop in form he has fallen down the pecking order. Then Thomas Tuchel received an offer from the Lions but an agreement looks unlikely with PSG, Arsenal, and Chelsea all in the running. Now Eduardo Berizzo, who has been a favorite all along the way, looks to be the man.
According to a new report Javi Beltrán of AS, Athletic and Berizzo have reached advanced negotiations and the Argentine is said to favor a move to the San Mamés over other interested clubs. The former Celta and Sevilla coach reportedly likes Athletic’s technical organization and how the club is run and is quite familiar with La Liga. Most importantly, the report says that he is willing to accept a one-year contract which, due to Presidential elections next summer, will be the longest deal that the Basque can offer him.
Further information came out when Nika Cuenca reported more intimate details of Berizzo’s interest in Athletic. He stated that Berizzo is very close to some key figures at the club and that he really likes President Josu Urrutia who he sees as a football guy instead of just a figurehead. The Argentine knows that he can only be offered a one year deal, but if he accepted he would be coming to the club with the plan of staying for longer. Berizzo really likes the idea of managing a club like Athletic and that is why it is his preferred destination.
It is also important to note the fact that Berizzo has not been offered a contract yet. Cuenca speculated that this is likely due to one of two reasons. First, Athletic could be waiting to heard back from Thomas Tuchel before putting another offer on the table. Secondly, Urrutia could be waiting until the end of the season out of respect for current manager Kuko Ziganda who still has eight games remaining. Either way, the fact that the Basques haven’t made an offer yet isn’t a concern.
A large portion of Athletic fans have been enamored with Berizzo for over a year now due to his ties with former manager Marcelo Bielsa. Like Bielsa, Berizzo has a brilliant mind for the game and his team’s are known for playing pressing and intense football. Unlike Bielsa, however, Berizzo is much more laid back which will go a long way with the Athletic players who were run into the ground by Bielsa’s overbearing approach to coaching.
It is important to note that the two sides have not come to an agreement. The reports simply states that Athletic is Berizzo’s favored destination and that he is willing to sign a one-year deal which has been a potential issue in the managerial search. They are in advanced negotiations at this point but a lot more details must be agreed to before any agreement is made. Regardless, the Argentine is clearly the leading candidate to take over for Kuko Ziganda this summer which should have fans both excited and expecting.