Mikel San José’s Place Is Safe, Other Midfielders Are In Question
The biggest issue that plagued Athletic Club last season was the midfield. No matter what combination Kuko Ziganda tried, it just didn’t work and cost the team a lot of points throughout the course of the campaign. Now Eduardo Berizzo is in charge and the first thing he must do is remedy this situation. The new manager has reportedly already made the decision to keep Unai López in the team after his highly successful year on loan with Rayo Vallecano, and the Argentine may even be willing to look to Lezama.
According to a report from Juanma Velasco of Marca, the fact that Peru Nolaskoain and Oihan Sancet have been called to train with the first team this summer is a serious deal. Nolaskoain will be given the chance to fight for a place in the team and Sancet is already being looked at as a player of the future. Although it will be extremely difficult for him to earn a place this season, Berizzo wants to keep him close and may even be willing to hand him some minutes down the road.
All of this points to the fact that the current group of midfielders needs improvement. Velasco goes on to state that only Mikel San José’s place in the team is safe, with everyone else walking a tightrope with their future. Beñat, Mikel Rico, and Ander Iturraspe will all be fighting to stay at the San Mamés, but anything can happen with them. Meanwhile, Mikel Vesga has already been ruled out of Berizzo’s plans for the upcoming season and could even leave on loan before preseason training begins on 9 July.
Eduardo Berizzo is said to want a squad of 22-25 players which means there will be several cuts. He will start the summer with 34 players, if Vesga is still around at the time, and will have some difficult decisions to make. Along with Vesga, Rico looks to be the one most likely to leave and has already received interest from newly promoted Huesca who would love to bring him back to the club. In the end, part of the decision will be contingent on whether or not the Lions sign Mikel Merino, but for now it is clear that Berizzo understands the important of fixing the problems in the midfield.