Mikel Balenziaga Could Reportedly Leave Athletic Club This Summer
The signing of Yuri Berchiche was a source of joy and excitement for Athletic fans. Not only did the 28-year-old become the second-most expensive transfer in club history, his arrival will bring proven quality and experience to the defense. It was the perfect move for the Lions. But not everyone will benefit from the addition.
Mikel Balenziaga is clearly the player who will be most negatively affected by Berchiche’s arrival. The 30-year-old has been the starting left-back since returning to the club in 2013 and will now be relegated to a backup role. Still, having both players in the team will give Athletic incredible depth. As far as the club is concerned it looks like a perfect situation, but other decisions could be made.
According to a report from Radio Marca Bilbao, Balenziaga could surprisingly leave the club this summer. It is no secret that newly promoted Real Valladolid would love to bring him back and others could be interested as well. The report definitely comes with disbelief considering the fact that there has been nothing from the club suggesting that they are interested in offloading Balenziaga.
Allowing Balenziaga to leave would be a major loss of depth and would require new signing Cristian Ganea to step up in his place. However, it could also be a blessing in disguise for Andoni López who, despite being a very talented young prospects, currently doesn’t have a path to the first team. Truth be told, the pair could play a major role in the whatever happens.
If the club truly is considering offloading Balenziaga it must also mean that Eduardo Berizzo has seen enough from other players to believe that it would be the right decision. Perhaps Ganea and López are showing that they are capable of taking his place, or maybe the 30-year-old has struggled to adapt to the new system. At the same time, Radio Marca Bilbao doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to reliable Athletic reporting, but that doesn’t mean that the story can’t be true. As of now there are no other sources confirming the report so it will be something to watch closely over the next few weeks leading into the new season.