Sabin Merino’s Future Is In The Hands Of Eduardo Berizzo
Sabin Merino’s time in the Athletic Club first team has been quite the rollercoaster. During his debut season he ended the year with seven goals and many believed that he could finally be the successor to Aritz Aduriz. He played a similar game, was great in the air, and showed wonderful positioning in front of goal. However, over the last two seasons he has been plagued by injuries and has barely featured. During the last campaign he did not even score a goal or register an assist. Despite his shortcomings as of late, his departure isn’t a sure thing.
According to a recent report from Javier Beltran of AS, Eduardo Berizzo will give Sabin Merino the chance to fight for his place in the team during preseason training. The new Athletic manager has spoken regularly with former coach Ernesto Valverde, who gave Merino his debut, and hasn’t given up on the forward despite having already studied every game from the past year. At the same time, Sabin Merino wants to stay at Athletic and intends to fight for his place this summer.
With Aritz Aduriz and Iñaki Williams in the team, Merino knows that he will only be fighting for a rotational role in the team. He will also be competing against starlets Asier Villalibre and Gorka Guruzeta which could further complicate things. Regardless, if Berizzo can get the best out of the 26-year-old and see him return to his form under Valverde, Merino would be a valuable player to have in the team. But that is certainly easier said than done.
In the meantime, Merino already has several suitors who are monitoring the situation closely. La Liga side Leganés are reportedly keen on in signing the forward, while a handful of clubs in the Segunda have expressed interest in the Lezama graduate. The forward is currently entering the final year of his contract so if he does leave it will likely be on loan, or Athletic could allow him to leave for free while also retaining a buy-back option. Sabin Merino definitely has his work cut out for him this summer, but Berizzo is going to give him the chance to prove himself before making any firm decisions.