Rafa Alkorta “Our Priority Is To Sign Gaizka Garitano To A Renewal As Soon As Possible”
Rafa Alkorta has been a busy man since becoming the Sporting Director of Athletic Club following the December Presidential elections. So far he has signed Ibai Gómez and Kenan Kodro, but there is still a lot of work left to do. Several players are in need of renewals, but in an interview with Radio Marca the former defender stated that the first priority is signing manager Gaizka Garitano to a new deal before discussing other moves.
“Susaeta and Iturraspe are very good players who have done a lot for the club, but we must wait a bit. When it comes to Aritz [Aduriz], for all he has done and what he’s given to the club he has the right to decide his future. He knows that we are going to support him. We’re just waiting for him to sit down with us and tell us what he wants to do. What we want to do first is renew Gaizka Garitano’s contract as soon as possible. I would like to sit down with Gaizka and with Patxi and tell them that we are going to renew their contracts and then talk about all these cases and discuss the plans for the future. That would be the ideal for the players and the Sports Management Committee.”
The current Board of Directors are very happy with the work that Garitano and his assistant coach Patxi Ferreira have done to this point. That being said, Alkorta knows that they must continue getting good results because a few poor games could see any team fall back into a relegation battle.
“The two coaches have been great. They are always thinking together and they think more about the team than they do about themselves. The important thing is to get out of the situation we are in because, despite the good start, we know that if we lose a game you are back down there again. So right now we just have to think about the team and then everything else will come.”
It didn’t take long for Alkorta to be asked about the situation with Alex Remiro. The Sporting Director quickly admitted that things haven’t changed as far as the keeper refusing to sign an extension, but also said that it won’t keep him from being available to the coach if Garitano needs him.
“The situation hasn’t changed at all. I understand that he is our player, that he has a contract with us, that he is a professional, and that is Gaizka needs to call him he can call him. I don’t understand it any other way. I didn’t even know that someone had told the first team that he couldn’t be called. I didn’t have that information and that was why I was surprised the other day at the reaction when he was included in the squad.”
Alkorta went on to say that he has spoken with Remiro and shared the club’s desire to sign him to a renewal, but that hasn’t happened. Some sources claim that Remiro already has a deal in place with Real Sociedad, although that’s something that Alkorta has no idea about right now.
“I spoke with him at the time when we wanted to have a conversation with his representatives about wanting him to renew his contract. You must have a very good source if you can say that he is going to Real Sociedad but I don’t know. I don’t care either. I don’t care where he goes. What I wanted was to have him stay at the club because he is a very good goalkeeper.”
Aritz Aduriz and Markel Susaeta will be simple contract negotiations if the two decide to continue playing football, but Athletic will have some tough choices to make. Both Ander Iturraspe and Mikel Rico are on expiring contracts and Garitano and Alkorta will have to decide whether or not to offer them renewals. Sabin Merino and Remiro are both expected to leave Athletic when the season comes to an end.