Unai Simón Will Likely Leave Bilbao Athletic On Loan Next Season
Athletic Club have plenty of talented young goalkeepers coming through Lezama, but the key to developing players is to make sure that everyone is getting plenty of minutes and constantly pushing themselves against stronger competition. That can be difficult sometimes, especially considering the fact that Athletic have several around the same age category. It is at these times that loan moves become increasingly more valuable, especially when a player is ready to tackle a higher division, and it now looks as though one starlet will probably be spending the year away from Athletic.
Unai Simón has proven to be the next exceptional keeper to come through Lezama, following in the footsteps of others like Kepa Arrizabalaga and Alex Remiro. He has spent the last two years as the starter at Bilbao Athletic, featuring in 60 games and standing out as one of the best in the Segunda B. Last summer he spent the first half of preseason with the first team to gain valuable experience and now it looks like it may be time for him to make the jump to the Segunda in order to test himself against a higher class of competition and take the next big step in his development.
In fact, Athletic seemed to hint at the possibility of a loan move on Wednesday when the club announced that six players from CD Basconia had been promoted to Bilbao Athletic. One of those promoted was goalkeeper Christophe Atangana who featured in 19 games for Basconia last season. The club also announced that Unai Etxebarria, who spent the last year on loan with Leoia, will be returning to the team. Add in Hodei Oleaga who was the backup to Simón in the previous campaign and that leaves Bilbao Athletic with four keepers in the squad. Clearly someone will have to leave.
Right now Athletic have a lot of options to choose from. Players like Atangana and Etxebarria could certainly leave on loan in the Segunda B to play regular minutes, while Oleaga’s future is also a question mark at this point. That being said, the most likely scenario would be for Simón to finally test himself in LaLiga123 because he’s certainly ready to make the jump. The 20-year-old has been playing at a high level for two years now and the argument could even be made that staying at Bilbao Athletic would be holding him back. He should have plenty of suitors, but the key would be finding a team that can guarantee playing time. There is also a chance that Simón could be promoted to backup Kepa if Herrerín leaves this summer, but that would significantly affect his development at such a critical time. If a club does approach Athletic willing to offer significant minutes, it is very likely that Simón would be sent on loan.