Eduardo Berizzo Prefers Athletic Despite Interest From Other Clubs
Kuko Ziganda will continue to be the Athletic Club manager for the rest of the season, but this summer he will be gone. The former Bilbao Athletic coach took over in the summer with great expectations, but things did not go according to plan and his time at the San Mamés is coming to an end. Behind the scenes, even though President Josu Urrutia won’t openly discuss it, there have been talks with other coaches about replacing Ziganda. The club has really picked up their managerial search over the last month and it has been a constantly evolving story to watch.
At first all reports claimed that Asier Garitano would be the next Athletic manager. He grew up at the club, has been highly successful at Leganés, and is out of contract at the end of the season. Soon, it became public knowledge that the Lions were chasing former BVB coach Thomas Tuchel and that they had even offered him a contract. As the days passed and Tuchel saw his name linked with clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, and PSG it became pretty clear that he was not going to accept the offer to the San Mamés. At that point Eduardo Berizzo’s name came back into the fold.
Berizzo was the only other manager in the running against Kuko Ziganda last season and many fans wanted the former Celta Vigo boss to be hired. Instead he went to Sevilla and was sacked by December after a battle with cancer and poor results. Since then he has been the consistent name linked with Athletic and the coach that the majority of fans seem to be banging the drum for. Over the past week it has been revealed that Athletic and Berizzo are in advanced negotiations and many reporters tend to agree that he will be the next manager.
Things are never that simple though. There are more clubs than just Athletic interested in the Argentine. As of now we know of at least two other clubs who are hoping to sign Berizzo in Chile’s Colo Colo and Brazilian side Flamengo. Berizzo’s coaching career initially took off while coaching in Chile for O’Higgins and he understands the South American game quite well. There are likely more clubs eyeing the Argentine, but there shouldn’t really be much concern for Athletic fans right now.
Several reports have confirmed that Berizzo highly favors a move to Athletic and the fact that he is in advanced negotiations with the club should make that even more clear. He is said to really like how the club is run and respects what Athletic represents in values. Furthermore EiTB recently reported that Athletic Sporting Director José María Ammorortu has had several conversations with Berizzo where they discussed his health and hopes for next season. The manager is said to be willing to sign a one year contract, due to President elections taking place next summer, with the goal of earning an extension.
One last thing to keep an eye on is the fact that EiTB also reported that Athletic have told Berizzo that they are talking to another coach at the same time. There has been no word on who this coach is, but most likely it is a backup option in case Berizzo decides to go elsewhere. Football clubs are wise to not put all of their eggs in one basket so this bit of information shouldn’t really be surprising. As things stand now it still looks like Eduardo Berizzo will be the next Athletic manager. That being said, the story has been constantly evolving so it is definitely something that demands constant attention.