Every so often there are a select few players from Lezama that see their dreams of playing for the first team become a reality. They have fantasized about it since they were kids and the first time they put on the Txurrigorri shirt is something so special that it can’t be put into words. Unfortunately, most of the kids coming through the youth system won’t get that chance because there just isn’t enough room for everyone and many leave in search of regular playing minutes. Sometimes a player will return down the road which is always nice to see and that may be exactly what will happen with Jurgi Oteo this summer.
Most Athletic fans will remember Oteo well. The winger grew up at Lezama and always stood out among his peers due to his flair and the confidence that he always played with. Despite being a promising young footballer, last summer the decision was made to allow Oteo to leave in order to continue his development and seek out regular minutes elsewhere as it didn’t look like he would be able to break into the first team. There was a flurry of interest from Primera clubs that wanted to add Oteo to their reserve teams, but he eventually decided to sign with his hometown Barakaldo CF with the idea of working to return to Athletic.
According to a report from El Desmarque Bizkaia, Athletic have until 15 April to activate a clause that would bring Oteo back to Bilbao Athletic and there is a good chance that they will choose to do so. The 21-year-old has been sublime this season, scoring five goals while also becoming more of a creator which was a part of his game that was lacking in the past. He has grown and matured quite a bit and the report says that Athletic are impressed with how he has developed and are considering activating the clause before the time runs out.
Bilbao Athletic have arguably been the best team in the entire league this year and are deep in a battle for promotion to the Segunda. With what he’s shown this year with Barkaldo, bringing Oteo back would just give Gaizka Garitano another deadly weapon. Right now there is no way of telling what Oteo’s projected role would be in the team, but if he is brought back it will be because Athletic believe he can contribute in a positive way and that he could still have a future at the club. Oteo was always seen as a very special footballer whose only real weakness was focus and the ability to make the most of his talent. This year a new chapter began and the Lezama product has taken a huge step forward in his development. Athletic still have a big decision to make and if they do bring back Jurgi Oteo it will be because he’s earned it.