Aitor Elizegi Discusses Possible Transfer Targets And Gaizka Garitano’s Renewal
It’s been nearly 100 days since Aitor Elizegi was voted in as the new President of Athletic. Not much has changed in that time, but once the season ends the real alterations will begin. With the milestone rapidly approaching, Elizegi took the time to speak with Cope Bilbao on Tuesday where he shared his thoughts on a few transfer targets, while also giving his take on the club’s philosophy.
“Of course we are interested in Javi Martinez”, Elizegi admitted. “Who wouldn’t like to have him on their team? If the circumstances are favorable, and we would have to see if they are, if we can afford it and he’s part of the future agenda to reinforce the squad we would try to make it happen. Don’t take the phrases out of context. We want to have the best 25 players possible.”
There was a lot of talk about Fernando Llorente returning in January before Harry Kane suffered an injury. Now there’s no guarantee that the club will pursue him in the summer. “I don’t follow Llorente on a daily basis”, Elizegi began. “I know he has a tough tie against City, but he’s not a hot potato for the club at all. He knows he made mistakes when he left and the club did so too. There was a situation that wasn’t special or good for anyone. There’s no reason to open wounds.”
As long as the team continues scoring goals and getting good results there isn’t a serious need to bring back Llorente. In fact, Elizegi would rather give chances to players already at the club if possible before looking to outside options.
“If there is a need to reinforce the team we should look to Villalibre, for example, before another outside player. Our obligation is to have respect for those here and then those from outside if needed. The important thing is that Williams, Raúl García and Kodro are scoring and for them to continue like this. If the team isn’t scoring goals then that’s when the time comes to reinforce the attack.”
“I don’t think that Ander has problems with Athletic”, Elizegi answered when asked about Ander Herrera. “If he wants to play here then that path would be smooth, but I don’t know his situation. If he puts his heart on the table it would be even simpler.” Many sources have reported that the midfielder has already reached an agreement to sign with PSG this summer, but Athletic haven’t closed the door.
The conversation then turned to Athletic’s unique philosophy and Elizegi’s idea of including Basques who were born outside Euskal Herria. “We have a way of understanding football in a special way because we see that high performance is found in Euskadi. For me, the diaspora could play at Athletic. There is no proposal to date, there is no name, but if there is the case it takes a second to know the feeling of the people. I don’t care much about rejecting one of ours.”
In closing, the President addressed the renewals of Markel Susaeta and Gaizka Garitano. “I would always like to have Susaeta on my team” he stated. Meanwhile, Garitano’s renewal is just a matter of time. “It’s ready, just waiting to seal salvation mathematically. When the time allows, it will take 10 minutes.”