Athletic President Aitor Elizegi Hints At Upcoming Markel Susaeta Renewal
Athletic President Aitor Elizegi attended the presentation for the Basque Team Foundation earlier this week, along with Eibar President Amaia Gorostiza. It was announced that both clubs had signed a collaborative agreement for two years to contribute financially to the foundation that aids Basque athletes who aspire to things such as the Olympic Games and the Paralympics.
Both Presidents spoke with Javier Ortiz De Lazcano of El Correo and it was interesting to see how they answered questions very similarly. “What do you want me to tell you? We are proud that a club like Athletic looks at our players”, said Gorostiza when asked about Athletic signing the likes of Ander Capa and Dani García. “If we develop footballers who are capable of enhancing Basque football, we will be very proud.”
“I love what Amaia said”, Elizegi responded when it was his turn. “We done want to create differences or a sense of disrespect. Athletic owes respect to Eibar, Real, Alavés, Osasuna, and the others around us. You have to face them because in many cases they have a shared interest, not opposing. We fight in the league and in UEFA so that there is recognition for club like ours who are focused on youth development.”
Athletic captain Markel Susaeta is actually from the city of Eibar and his current contract is set to expire at the end of the season. “That is the responsibility of the Sporting Director”, Gorostiza quickly said when asked if Eibar will try to sign Susaeta. “Obviously I won’t say what we are knitting knitting the club.” Elizegi, meanwhile, admitted that he believes the 31-year-old will continue playing at the San Mamés next season. “Susaeta and Athletic have the mechanisms needed to continue together. They have already been put in place. The season has been tough for everyone, but Susaeta and Athletic have already established the desire for Markel to continue at Athletic next season.”
The attention then turned to the two managers for Athletic and Eibar who have both enjoyed massive success this season. “Mendilibar has a constantly intense message for matches on the day to day”, Elizegi said praising the Eibar coach. “It would be difficult to find anyone who speaks ill of him even with his struggles at Athletic. Garitano has made his way. For someone who was born five kilometers from the San Mamés, it is a dream to coach Athletic and he wants to do it well. Gaizka and Patxi are a pair who are ding well. More than adding, they are multiplying. Gaizka is very serious about his work, but with a touch of enthusiasm.”
Athletic Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta has mentioned on a few occasions that he would like to renew Garitano’s contract, which is set to expire at the end of the year. “Rafa said well”, Elizegi responded. “We want it to be sooner rather than later. It can be at any time and I hope it will last a long time. I will say that the best thing that can happen to me is that Garitano continues to coach Athletic while the Socio allow us to be at the club. That fulfills many of the needs of Athletic.”
While Garitano and Susaeta’s contract need to be addressed, Alkorta has admitted that it will all be handled in due time. For the moment, the focus is on getting as far away from the relegation zone as possible before looking at other matters. What is clear is that Garitano is the man for Athletic moving forward, and if everything goes according to plan Susaeta will continue playing at the San Mamés.