Kepa Money Could See Athletic Club Renew Their Interest In Mikel Oyarzabal
In the next 24 hours Kepa Arrizabalaga will be a Chelsea player. The Athletic goalkeeper has already accepted an offer from the London-based club and has flown to Madrid where he will deposit his €80 million release clause Wednesday morning before flying to England. His exit is a major blow to Athletic, but it does present the Lions with an interesting option.
With Iago Herrerín and Alex Remiro in place the club already has replacements for Kepa. That means Athletic can now look to invest their new €80 million in other areas. Over the next few days the Lions will likely be linked with moves for Ander Herrera, Javi Martinez, Cesar Azpilicueta, and the like, but there is one player who will likely be the biggest target.
Athletic have been pursuing Real Sociedad’s Mikel Oyarzabal for a few years now. It looked as though they were going to seal his transfer back in 2016 before the winger opted to sign a contract extension with La Real through 2022. The new deal saw his release clause rise to €50 million, with Athletic required to add an addition €10 million. Paying that fee has been out of the question, but is now within reach due to Kepa’s departure.
It is important to note that just because Athletic can afford Oyarzabal doesn’t mean a transfer will happen. The 21-year-old would still need to agree to the move and he’s never seemed keen on joining Real Sociedad’s bitter rivals. That being said, the same was said of Iñigo Martinez before he made the switch to the San Mamés in January. Athletic will be expected to probe the situation in hopes of convincing Oyarzabal, but the decision would be his to make.