What Dani García’s Arrival Will Bring To Athletic Club
Dani García officially said goodbye to Eibar in an emotional press conference on Thursday. He had spent the last six years at the club and helped lead the team rise from the Segunda B all the way to the Primera where he has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the league. After serving as the Captain and featuring in over 220 games, his farewell message sounded more like the retirement of a legend rather than the exit of a 27 year old, but that is the case. García said that he is ready for a new challenge but refused to comment on where he will go. Athletic Club will be his next home.
Once it became clear that Dani García was not going to renew his contract with Eibar, rumors began to grow that he would be making the switch to the San Mamés. It was recently reported that he has already agreed to a three year contract with the Basque giants, with the option for another year, and that the only thing left was the announcement. Now that he has publicly said his goodbyes it is only a matter of time before Athletic make the deal publicly official. With his arrival forthcoming, fans are wondering just what he will bring to the San Mamés. The answer is quite a lot.
To understand Dani García the player, you must first understand Dani García the person. He is a quiet and humble footballer who has never loved the spotlight. Instead of living as a celebrity, he’d much rather spend time with family, friends, and his dog Manolito. He can be very serious on the field, but off of it he likes to joke around and have fun with his teammates. Since the beginning of his career he has always been a very hard worker who was willing to do the little things behind the scenes to achieve success. Some have called him an “Iron Man” due to the fact that he rarely misses a game through injury. He’s never been afraid to put his body on the line and plays with a passion that is infectious. García embodies everything great about Basque football and takes immense pride in it.
On the pitch, García is a well-rounded midfielder who does a lot of things with great quality. Some have likened him to Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets, which really isn’t a bad comparison when you really think about it. García’s strengths come from his high football IQ and ability to read the game. He is always putting himself into position to intercept passes or cut off a passing lane, but he is also a very capable tackler. When he goes into a challenge he is precise and commits to it every time. He consistently consistently has one of the highest ratings in interceptions and tackles in La Liga. Opponents can often get frustrated with the Eibar Captain due to the fact that he always seems to be in the perfect place to break up an attack or steal back possession.
While García is very much a defensive midfielder, he also has a strong offensive side to his game. The 27-year-old has proven to be capable of making accurate deep-ball passes and has a knack for pinpointing a teammate’s run from far away. He also knows how to keep possession and cycle the ball around in order to build up play. His pass completion rating is consistently above 80%. While He may not be a serious threat in front of goal, but the Basque midfielder does have a powerful shot and he isn’t afraid to test the keeper from outside of the box. He scored one of those against Valencia last season and it was absolutely stunning.
Athletic fans should know that Dani García is never going to look incredible on the stat sheet. He’s only scored 3 goals and given 5 assists since joining the club in 2012. Instead, he does all of the little things that a team needs to be successful. He will win possession, make key tackles, organize the midfield, and provide a link between the defense and forwards. Perhaps his greatest strength is being able to dictate the pace of play. García seems to always know when to speed up an attack or slow things down and control possession. Several of his Eibar teammates have said that when he isn’t on the field they definitely notice that things aren’t as organized or as fluid. One teammate even said it’s like having a coach on the field. Hearing players much older talk about how much they respect him as their Captain with García still being only 27 is really telling about the type of player that he is.
Over the last couple of seasons Dani García has become one of the best players in La Liga at his position. He is a phenomenal footballer and an even better leader and person. If he plays at the same level he has for Eibar, he is going to immediately make the Athletic midfield more organized, more disciplined, and simply better overall. He has all of the qualities to become one of the most influential players at the San Mamés and it will be interesting to see how he fits in the squad. Athletic will still be looking to sign more midfielders this summer and currently have their eyes set on the likes of Mikel Merino and Ander Herrera, but Dani García may end up being the best signing of the summer and he’s joining for free.