Athletic Club’s Interest In Sergio Moreno Could See Unai López Return To Rayo Vallecano

Unai Lopez

Could Unai López return to Rayo Vallecano in January? (MD)

Athletic Club are always looking for ways to strengthen the team, especially with their unique philosophy that limits the pool of players to choose from. With a new President taking over at the end of the month and the January transfer window opening days later the Basque giants could be looking to make some moves. However, other clubs also have their eyes on Athletic.

After a very successful year on loan with Rayo Vallecano, Unai López looked poised to play a major role at Athletic this season. The midfielder signed a new contract with the club through 2022 and performed well in the preseason. He even started the first game of the campaign under Eduardo Berizzo, but over time he has struggled to play regular minutes.

Over the summer Rayo Vallecano did everything they could to sign López for a second season. Athletic repeatedly told them that they had no intentions of sending the 23-year-old away again but the Madrid-based club have continued to monitor the situation. With López now relegated to the bench Rayo have once again come calling with hopes of signing the midfielder in the January transfer window.

According to a report from Rayo Vallecano reporter Raul Granado of Onda Cero, López has told Athletic that he would like to return to Rayo Vallecano and the Lions are willing to make that happen on one condition. Athletic want to sign Rayo starlet Sergio Moreno. The Basques have already shown interest in the 19-year-old forward from Pamplona who made his La Liga debut earlier this year and the report goes on to say that Rayo could be willing include Moreno in the deal, but only on loan with the option to buy at the end of the season. In this theoretical deal López would also join Rayo on loan for the remainder of the season, although there was no mention of a purchase option for the midfielder.

Sergio Moreno

Sergio Moreno made his La Liga debut against Atletico Madrid (Rayo)

There are several peculiarities with this report, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. To begin with, there have been no reports in the Basque Country claiming that Unai López has asked to leave Athletic and return to Rayo. At the same time, signing Moreno on loan wouldn’t really help Athletic that much this season and Real Madrid have a preferential option on the striker. They would have to waive that option for Rayo to be able to include a purchase option in any deal with Athletic. At the same time, Rayo are currently direct opponents of Athletic are both are fighting to escape the relegation zone of the La Liga table.

Hours later Javier Beltrán of AS reported that Athletic have become increasingly interested in Moreno since the summer and that Rayo would indeed like to bring back Unai López. However, he made no mention of López’s supposed request to leave Athletic or of any proposed deal between the two clubs. Athletic have been monitoring and scouting Moreno for the last few weeks.

Regardless of whether or not this report is accurate, Athletic have continued to show interest in Sergio Moreno. Real Madrid’s preferential option makes a transfer really difficult, but not impossible. This will certainly be a story to watch over the next few weeks as Unai López is likely to be asked about his thoughts on the report and the possibility of returning to Rayo Vallecano.

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