Former Athletic Transfer Target, Alex Berenguer, Could Be Available This Summer
Last summer things got a bit testy between Athletic Club and neighbors Osasuna. The Lions were in heavy pursuit of winger Alex Berenguer who was set to leave his boyhood club who had suffered relegation. The two sides were far apart on a transfer fee so, when Athletic refused to pay his release clause, Osasuna sold Berenguer to Italian side Torino for €5.5 million plus variables. The Navarre-based club even included an anti-Athletic clause in the deal to make it more difficult for the Lions to potentially purchase him down the road.
In the beginning it looked like Berenguer was going to be a vital player for Torino after he started the first two games of the season. He then went 13 straight games without making a start and didn’t even feature in seven of those. Now as the year is coming to a close the 22-year-old has participated in 20 league games for Torino but has only logged 921 minutes. He has scored one goal and given two assists and at times has shown flashes of his quality; however, the physicality of the Italian league has clearly hampered his production.
According to several media reports the winger could be made available this summer as Torino look to improve their squad. Most believe that the Italians would like to send Berenguer on loan in order to gain more experience and play regular minutes, but others could see the club willing to sell him in order to recoup the €5.5 million that was paid to Osasuna over the summer. As of right now there is nothing suggesting that Athletic are still interested in Berenguer, but with changes coming this summer it is something to keep an eye on.
For those hoping to see Athletic pursue Berenguer again there are a few obstacles to keep in mind. First, his contract with Torino does contain an anti-Athletic clause which means that the Lions would have to pay a larger fee than any other interested clubs. At the same time, Athletic are said to be monitoring current Osasuna winger Kike Barja who has shown that he may have even higher potential than Berenguer. With a release clause of only €4 million that deal would make more sense. Lastly, Iñigo Córdoba is now seen as the left-wing of the future and there is no reason to believe that Berenguer would be able to overtake his place in the team.
At the end of the day, if Athletic are still interested in Berenguer they may be willing to pursue him again but not if his asking price is going to be steep. The club has other options. At the same time, Berenguer did spend some time playing as a left-back while at Osasuna and, if Athletic view him as someone who can play in that role regularly, that could change things entirely. For now it is safe to say that the Basque giants have their attention elsewhere, but as long as Berenguer is on the market there will always be a possibility that Athletic could test the waters.