Eduardo Berizzo has been Athletic Club’s number one option to replace Kuko Ziganda as manager ever since it became evident that a change would be made this summer. Both parties have a good relationship and contact was made a few weeks ago to begin negotiations. From the start it was clear that Berizzo was very interested in becoming the new Athletic manager while the club was certain that the Argentine was the perfect choice to take over at the San Mamés. Negotiations have gone well since the first phone call and now look to be nearing completion.
According to a report from Nika Cuenca of Fiebre Rojiblanca, the two sides met in Bordeaux on Wednesday and had a very productive discussion about Berizzo’s contract. Athletic, who understand the dangers of short-term contracts, offered the Argentine a two-year deal. Berizzo responded by saying that he only wants a one-year contract, not because he isn’t committed to the club, but because he feels uncomfortable signing for longer when Athletic have Presidential elections scheduled for next summer. The Argentine doesn’t want to put himself in an awkward position and would rather prove himself worthy of a longer deal if a new President takes over.
The report goes on to say that the two have finally reached an agreement on the duration. Berizzo will sign a one-year contract, but there will also be an option for a second season that will be automatically triggered if the Argentine completes objectives spelled out in the contract. Those objectives are unknown at this point but likely include leading the Lions back to European qualification among other things. The only issue that still hasn’t been agreed to is that of wages. However, sources close to the club insist that both sides are close on the numbers and that there isn’t any worry about an agreement being reached. With wages being the last point of negotiations, a deal is very close to being signed.
Several sources have said that Berizzo is very excited about taking over as the Athletic manager. He loves how the club is run, especially Lezama, and has even rejected other interested clubs, telling them that he plans to sign with the Basque giants. A contract between the two may not be finalized just yet but, barring any unforeseen problems, Eduardo Berizzo will be the new Athletic manager this summer. Cuenca also revealed in the report that the Argentine will bring at least five assistants with him to Bilbao: his right-hand man Ernesto Marcucci, Tito Bonano, Mariano Uglessich, Pablo Fernández, and Carlos Kisluk.