Enric Saborit Could Sign With Espanyol After Leaving Athletic Club
After joining Lezama at 16 years old Enric Saborit’s time at Athletic Club has come to an end. The left-back was promoted to the first team in 2013 by manager Ernesto Valverde but has never truly been able to carve out a regular place in the team. He has spent the last few seasons sitting behind Mikel Balenziaga, but with the arrival of Cristian Ganea and pressure from Bilbao Athletic’s Andoni Lopez it has become clear that he would not have a role to play moving forward. With his contract expiring this summer Athletic recently announced that he would be leaving the club.
Saborit is now free to choose his destination and there is already a leading candidate. According to a recent report from Nika Cuenca of Fiebre Rojiblanco, Espanyol have already shown interest in bringing back the defender who attended their academy before making the switch to Athletic Club. In fact, he reportedly had a deal already in place to join Espanyol last summer before Athletic triggered a clause in his contract to extend it for an additional season.
Espanyol’s interest in Saborit does make a lot of sense. To begin with, he is from Barcelona and knows the club well from his time at the youth academy. At the same time the Catalans will likely be losing left-back Aarón Martín who has been pegged to join Benfica this summer. Espanyol will be in need of a new defender at the position and Saborit has several years of experience in La Liga which could make him a natural fit as a replacement.
At Athletic Club the left-back situation is curious. Mikel Balenziaga has held the starting role since returning to the team in 2013, but over the last two seasons he has struggled at times. Ganea will be joining the Basques this summer after being signed from Viitorul and will have to earn his minutes as he hasn’t played against the same level of competition that he will face in La Liga. Andoni López has been a on the cusp of promotion for a few years now and is only getting better with time. Meanwhile, the Lions are trying to sign PSG’s Yuri Berchiche which would be a huge transfer if they can pull it off. One thing is clear at this point, Athletic are looking for ways to improve the left side of their defense and that means the starting role will be up for competition during the preseason.