Gaizka Garitano Agrees Contract Extension With Athletic Club
“The Club has told me that they want me to continue and I want to continue.” Gaizka Garitano didn’t hide from the questions about his future with Athletic when asked during Thursday’s press conference. For the past few weeks it’s been common knowledge that the manager and the club have been in talks regarding a renewal, though there was no hurry to reach an agreement.
Since Aitor Elizegi took over as President in December it was clear that he wanted Garitano to continue as the manager next season. Garitano also wanted to stay at Athletic but explained to the club that he wanted to wait until the team was safe from relegation and playing well before discussing his future. Talks really picked up right before the international break with some sources even claiming that a deal could be reached before Friday night’s match against Girona.
The club’s desire to renew Garitano comes as no surprise. Since taking over as the manager on 4 December he’s guided Athletic to the 4th best record in La Liga, climbing out of the relegation zone and into the race for European qualification. The Zurigorri boast the best defense in Spain throughout that time and are playing the style of football that has always characterized the Basque giants.
Sources have now confirmed that Garitano has agreed to a one-year contract extension with Athletic. There is also a possibility that the deal could include a clause to extend it for an extra season if certain goals are met, but that remains to be seen. Athletic have yet to announce the renewal mainly due to a request from Garitano. The manager has asked to delay the announcement until he feels the time is right so as not to interfere with the team’s performance.
Keeping Garitano at San Mamés was the club’s biggest priority. Now that it’s been done, Garitano and Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta will begin working on plans for this summer and next season. To begin with, Markel Susaeta is in need of a contract renewal as well and many sources claim that he will be given an offer to continue at the club. While these talks and decisions are taking place in private, Garitano remains fully focused on the current season and doing everything possible to continue fighting for European qualification.