Every day that passes is one day closer to Eduardo Berizzo becoming the next manager of Athletic Club. The Argentine has been in talks with the club for a few weeks now and has even told others interested in him that he intends to sign with the Basque giants. Last week it was revealed that he and the club were finalizing a contract and the only issues still to be negotiated were those of duration and wages. With a few details still to be ironed out the two sides planned to meet again this week which finally took place on Wednesday.
According to a report from Radio Marca Bilbao, Berizzo’s representatives and Athletic Club met on Wednesday in Bordeaux to continue the negotiations. As of right now the Basques are offering Berizzo a two-year contract, but he is said to only want to sign for one year. This is still a confusing report due to the fact that Athletic have Presidential elections scheduled for next summer so they shouldn’t be allowed to offer more than a one year deal anyway. Marca seem to be the only ones reporting that the club is offering more than a single season contract, so that will be something to keep an eye on as other media outlets claim that Berizzo has told the club that he is willing to sign for one year because he knows they won’t be able to offer a longer contract.
Regardless, Berizzo is said to want to prove that he deserves a longer contract so he is not interested in a short stay at the San Mamés. The other issue being discussed is that of wages. As of right now the two sides appear to be roughly €1 million – €1.5 million apart but the report claims that the wage negotiations have gone well and that both sides believe that they will be able to come to an agreement with relative ease. In short, these contractual issues might be worrying for Athletic fans but the club and Eduardo Berizzo want an agreement to be reached. The Argentine fully expects to be coaching Athletic next season.
The last bit of information that came out of the meeting should have fans excited. It was reported that Athletic gave Berizzo a complete report on Lezama as the manager is already working on his plans for the summer. It is unknown if this report was just on players coming through the system or a detailed analysis of the state of the academy. Sources have said that the Argentine really likes the way that the club is run, especially Lezama, which is one of the reasons why he has been so drawn to Athletic. Berizzo understands the importance of Lezama and the fact that he will have to work closely with the academy for the first team to be successful. For now it appears as though negotiations will continue, there is no rush with the current season still ongoing, but all signs still point to Eduardo Berizzo becoming the next Athletic manager this summer.