Markel Etxeberria Will Leave Athletic Club This Summer
Every player who comes through Lezama dreams of making it to the first team and competing at the San Mamés. For a select few that dream eventually becomes a reality, but the truth is that not everyone can make it so far. As is the case with every academy, talented young players leave Athletic every year in order to continue their careers elsewhere or find regular playing time at other clubs. This will be the case for former Lezama and Bilbao Athletic standout Markel Etxeberria who will leave this summer.
Etxeberria joined Lezama when he was just 10 years old and quickly rose through the youth ranks. While still playing for CD Basconia he was called up to the first team for a Europa League match against HJK Helsinki, but did not make his debut. It was the closest he would ever get to the first team. At the time he was viewed as the right-back of the future and many thought it was only a matter of time before he would be promoted. He spent a few summers training with the senior squad, but was never able to break through.
Two years ago Etxeberria signed a contract extension through 2018 that also included a clause to extend it for an additional year. He was then sent on loan to Real Valladolid in the Segunda where he barely saw the field. The following summer he joined Numancia on loan and has had much better luck this season, featuring in 28 games for the team so far. He has shown growth but the issue remains that there just isn’t a place for him in the first team. Currently Oscar De Marcos, Ander Capa, and Iñigo Lekue all stand in his way while there is also pressure from starlets Jesús Areso and Jon Sillero who are playing for Bilbao Athletic.
According to a report from El Desmarque Bizkaia, Athletic had until the 15th of May to decide whether or not to activate the clause in Etxeberria’s contract to extend his deal an additional year. Athletic chose not to do so which means that the 23-year-old will be free to join another club when the transfer window opens. Numancia have already made it clear that they would like for him to remain at the club, but Etxeberria will be the one to make the final decision on where he will play next year. The Lezama product has always shown the potential to become a special player so a move away from Athletic may be just what he needs to continue his development.