Athletic Loan Watch: Sabin Merino Struggling For Minutes With Leganés
Sabin Merino had several offers to leave Athletic on loan over the summer but constantly refused to accept a single one. The forward had his mind made up that he would stay at his boyhood club and fight to prove himself despite knowing it would be difficult to get on the field. He was determined to earn a new contract with the Lions, though in the end he reluctantly agreed to leave.
On the final day of the summer transfer window, Merino finally accepted an offer to join Leganés. Spending the year at Butarque would give the 27-year-old the chance to compete for regular minutes and hopefully convince Athletic that he deserved a new contract with his current one set to expire in June. As the March international break begins Merino is still looking to make an impact.
So far this year Merino has featured in eight league games, making just one start, although he was in the lineup for three Copa del Rey matches. He’s totaled 442 minutes for Los Pepineros and has yet to score a goal or register an assist. The emergence of Youssef En-Nesyri and Guido Carrillo, as well as being eliminated early in the Cup, has left Merino with very few chances. The Lezama product has featured just three times in the last 15 games and it doesn’t look like his situation will be changing in the final stretch of the season.
Sabin Merino was born in Bizkaia and grew up an Athletic fan. He’s Zurigorri to the core and his only goal this season was to convince the club that he deserved a contract extension. The way his loan with Leganés has gone, it’s highly unlikely that he will get his wish. After seeing the club sign Kenan Kodro in January, as well as the development of younger strikers, Merino’s time at San Mamés is coming to an end.