Osasuna Want To Raise Kike Barja’s Release Clause Amid Interest From Athletic Club

The summer transfer window is right around the corner but Athletic Club has already been hard at work preparing the squad for the next season. So far the Basque giants have already purchased Ander Capa and Cristian Ganea, as well as reportedly reaching an agreement with Eibar midfielder Dani Garcia who is out of contract in June. Fans have a lot to be excited about with the confirmed moves to this point but the Lions are not finished yet. As of right now the club is still targeting Newcastle midfielder Mikel Merino, but their interest in Osasuna winger Kike Barja isn’t going away either.

Barja

Kike Barja’s release clause makes him an affordable target (Navarra.com)

Barja is one of the most promising young Basque players around and it is easy to see why Athletic would be pursuing him. The 21-year-old is capable of playing on either wing, has pace and dribbling, and has begun to show an eye for goal. He is still under contract with Osasuna until 2021, although his release clause is currently set at €4 million which makes him a very realistic target for Athletic Club this summer. In fact, some sources even suggest that the Lions have already made the decision to trigger that clause when the transfer window opens.

Saying that Athletic and Osasuna have a negative relationship is putting it lightly. After Athletic failed to sign Alex Berenguer last summer they eventually paid the release clause for starlet Jesus Areso. Osasuna saw the move as stealing a young star and responded by cutting all ties with the Lions. They made the announcement that they would no longer hold any negotiations, meaning Athletic will have to match release clauses in order to buy any player. That being said, Osasuna is now looking to fend off shield Barja. According to El Desmarque Bizkaia, Osasuna are hoping to extend Barja’s contract and raise his release clause amid interest from Athletic and Real Sociedad.

Osasuna have already spoken with Barja’s agent regarding their desire to offer him a new contract, but so far there is no word from the player. As of right now the Navarra-based club is several points off of the promotional zone of the Segunda table which could make it difficult to convince the 21-year-old to sign a new deal, especially with clubs like Athletic and Real Sociedad showing serious interest. Osasuna are hopeful that they can secure the future of their academy graduate, but if Kike Barja does not agree to an improved contract Athletic could be ready to pay his release clause as soon as the transfer window opens in a few months. The Lions do not want a repeat of what happened with Alex Berenguer, but Barja will have the final say in deciding his future.

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