Athletic Analyzing Potential Renewals For Raúl García, Beñat, And Mikel San José
The second half of last season was a tense time at Athletic. Gaizka Garitano guided the Lions out of the relegation zone and into the battle for Europe, but the future was still uncertain. Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta explained that the club wouldn’t address any player contracts until Garitano had signed a renewal which eventually saw Markel Susaeta leave. This summer there is structure in place and Athletic are finally able to plan ahead.
Four players are entering the final year of their contracts, though Aritz Aduriz will once again be the one to decide whether or not to sign a new deal. The other three – Raúl García, Beñat, and Mikel San José – all played important roles in Garitano’s system and are expected to do the same again next season. Athletic doesn’t want to waste time like last year and Javier Beltrán of El Correo has reported that the club is already analyzing their situations.
Renewals aren’t urgent at this point but the club wants to be prepared when the time comes to negotiate new deals. Raúl García has been one of the team’s most important players since joining Athletic in 2015 and will surely be offered an extension barring any unforeseen issues. The 32-year-old featured in 34 matches last year, scoring 9 goals and assisted on 4 others.
Beñat and San José aren’t quite as certain to be given new deals at this point. Both midfielders have expressed their desires to continue at San Mamés and if they play at the same level as last year it’s very likely that the club will propose renewals. However, they must prove that they can still compete at a very high level with starlets like Oihan Sancet and Unai Vencedor ready to battle for a place in the team.
There is plenty of time for decisions to be made and the most important thing right now is preparing for the upcoming season. That being said, it appears as though Alkorta and the Sports Committee have learned an important lesson from last year. The fact that the club is already analyzing and working ahead on contract situations shows an important commitment to the future.