Iker Muniain and Raúl García Set For Contract Renewals This Summer, Others Could Follow
There are only two more games remaining on the calendar and that means that the season is almost over. It has been a disappointing campaign and fans will be happy to see the summer finally put an end to the suffering, but there will be no time to rest. The offseason will bring major changes at Athletic Club including a new manager, new additions, and a few departures as well. Along with all of the changes, there is a lot of work to do in the way of contract renewals. As of right now Iker Muniain and Raúl García are both set to begin negotiations this summer, and others could follow afterwards.
Muniain and García are both entering the final year of their respected contracts and President Josu Urrutia is prioritizing their renewals this summer. Both players have made it clear that they want to remain at the club and negotiations are expected to be relatively straight forward. Muniain will likely sign a long-term contract that will give him a wage increase and see his release clause raised at the same time. Sources claim that García is expected to sign a two-year extension. Both will, of course, remain among the highest paid players in the Athletic squad.
After these two have their extensions settled, the attention will turn to other players. Sources claim that Athletic also want to improve Unai Nuñez’s contract in order to pay him what he has proven to be worth and to significantly raise his release clause to protect him from potentially interested clubs. Despite Kepa Arrizabalaga and Iñaki Williams having recently signed long-term deals, there is still a chance that the club could look to offer them improved contracts as well. Lastly, Oscar De Marcos and Markel Susaeta are entering the final year of their contracts and will likely begin negotiations at some point soon with their places in the team secure.
Other than the four players listed above, there are still six others who only have a single year left on their contracts. Aritz Aduriz will once again be given the freedom to decide if he wants to retire or continue playing. There is no timetable for a decision as the club has left it entirely up to him the last few years. Ander Iturraspe, Mikel Balenziaga, Mikel Rico, and Xabi Etxeita will all likely have to wait to see how they are performing next season before any decisions are made about their futures. Sabin Merino is the last name on the list and he is likely to leave the club this summer either on a loan or permanently, perhaps with an option to return. Despite a promising start to his career with the first team he has not seen regular minutes this season and getting on the field will be even more difficult in the next campaign due to not playing in Europe.
Luckily for Athletic, there shouldn’t be any real issues getting these extensions done. All of the players are committed to the club and want to stay at the San Mamés. The only real problem is deciding what to do with players like Iturraspe and Balenziaga who can still play an important role but whose best days are likely behind them. For now Muniain and Raúl García are the priority which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It’s going to be a busy offseason, but President Josu Urrutia is determined to make this one of the most eventful summers in recent memory.