Former Athletic Midfielder Mikel Rico Set To Sign With Huesca, Xabi Etxeita Could Follow
Mikel Rico worked hard to make his dream of playing for Athletic a reality. After leaving Basconia for Conquense in 2003 the midfielder would also have stops at Poli Ejido, Huesca, and Granada before finally signing with the Zurigorri in 2013. Rico would go on to enjoy a very successful career with Athletic, featuring in 176, and will now be moving on this summer.
The next contract that Rico signs will likely be his last, which is quite fitting. The 34-year-old has never hidden his desire to end his career at Huesca and a deal is close to being finalized. There was even talk of Rico leaving for Huesca last year, but a move never materialized. This summer the midfielder is finally expected to return to Alcoraz.
“We have made a lot of progress in the matter”, said Huesca Sporting Director Ruben García when asked about Rico’s return. “I believe that we will reach an agreement soon. He’s a player that is very close to the club, to the city, and he would be a huge reinforcement for us. We are very excited and we hope that it will be completed.”
Returning to Huesca would be great for Rico, but he may not be the only player switching San Mamés for Alcoraz. Last year Xabi Etxeita signed with Huesca on loan and wore the captain’s armband for the club’s debut season in the Primera. Etxeita was one of the team’s most important players and Huesca have already offered him a permanent contract to continue at the club next season.
While Rico will almost certainly sign with Huesca this summer, Etxeita’s future isn’t clear. “My goal is to continue in the Primera“, the defender said in a recent interview. “I have proven that I can continue playing at this level and I will wait to see what offers I have and then choose the best. There may be some possibilities to play elsewhere but my intention, in principle, is to continue in this league.”
Etxeita enjoyed his year with Huesca and feels connected to the club and city. However, the team’s relegation to the Segunda could put them out of the running. That being said, if the defender doesn’t receive any offers from La Liga clubs he will have a difficult decision to make. Apart from Huesca, Etxeita has also been approached by a handful of clubs from Turkey according to a report from Javier Beltrán of AS and has an offer on the table from Red Star Belgrade who will be playing in the Champions League next season.