Gaizka Larrazabal Still Under Contract With Athletic Next Season, Asier Villalibre Offered A Renewal
Bilbao Athletic will undergo several changes this summer, and far more than is usually the case. It’s already been reported that the club plans to hire Joseba Etxeberria to coach the team and the squad will look different as well. Many players have proven that they deserve a chance to compete for a place in the first team and some of them will get that opportunity.
“Asier Villalibre has had a renewal offer on the table for a long time”, explained Rafa Alkorta. The Sporting Director was addressing a rumor that the striker will leave this summer. “He hasn’t responded but we are very confident that he will continue with us. Asier Benito is a more difficult issue. He has an offer on the table but hasn’t answered us yet.”
There has also been a story going around claiming that Gaizka Larrazabal has rejected a renewal offer and will sign with either Alavés or Eibar. “Anyone saying that Gaizka Larrazabal is going to another team hasn’t read the contract”, said Alkorta frankly. “For us, Gaizka is a player with characteristics that we don’t have in the first team and we believe that he can potentially play for the first team. We have a very good opinion of him and we believe he has enough quality to make it. He has an option in his contract for next season which has already been activated.”
Addressing the report that Joseba Etxeberria will coach Bilbao Athletic next season, Alkorta was open and honest. “We have not signed anything with Joseba. Aritz Solabarrieta is the coach and what we have to do is support him. We have let him work and we haven’t interfered with his work. His contract ends on 30 June and what we are doing is seeing how to improve the team for next year, nothing more.”
Alkorta isn’t happy that the story was leaked to the press, but knows he can’t change it. “I would have liked to do things in a different way and tell the current coaches once I had a replacement in my head”, he went on to say. “It was leaked that we are negotiating with Joseba Etxeberria, which is true, but I would have liked for Aritz and Iñaki Gonzalez to be able to work without that leaking. I have already apologized to them for all of this.” If all goes according to plan, Etxeberria will be coaching Bilbao Athletic next season.