Once Lezama, always Lezama. It makes sense that with Athletic’s Basque-only transfer policy there will always be one eye on former players, especially those who have come through the youth system. With limited space in the first team, the vast majority of youth prospects will never get to the San Mamés; and even those that do are not guaranteed a secure future. This leads to many players leaving the club to find minutes elsewhere and sometimes that results in a very special homecoming.
This was the case for current players such as Beñat, Aritz Aduriz, and Mikel San José and there is every reason to believe that it will continue to happen in the future. Just this season former players like Iñigo Ruiz de Galarreta and Ramalho have played at a high level leading many fans to hope for their return, but there is another name that seems to be flying under the radar – former striker Guillermo.
Guillermo joined Lezama when he was just 10 years old and was a standout player in his age group. Ernesto Valverde eventually handed him his debut in 2013 followed by a full promotion but he struggled to play at a consistent level in the Primera. He eventually left to join Elche in 2016 and over the summer he made the move to Numancia in the Segunda. It took the 24-year-old some time to find his footing in his new team, but lately he has been in red hot form.
Over the last 10 games Guillermo has scored six goals and has been one of Numancia’s best players. He even scored a brace against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Copa del Rey earlier in the year which immediately caught the eyes of fans. Known for his positioning and heading ability, the striker is starting to show a more well-rounded game that has seen him take the next step in his growth as a player. If the last handful of games are anything to go off of, he could be playing his way into contention to return to Athletic, but it is still a small sample size at this point.
It is a well-known fact that Athletic need to find the successor to Aritz Aduriz. So far Iñaki Williams hasn’t shown consistency in that role and there is very little depth behind him. Starlets like Gorka Guruzeta and Iñigo Vicente may be exciting, but they haven’t even kicked a ball in the top flight yet so there is just no way of knowing if they are ready. Because of this it is safe to assume that former strikers like Guillermo are being watched closely by the club, but that doesn’t guarantee a return. For now Athletic fans should be excited to see Guillermo playing so well with Numancia and, maybe, that could one day see him back at the San Mamés.