Cristian Ganea Returns To Athletic After A Successful Loan With Numancia
Cristian Ganea’s first season as an Athletic player didn’t go as originally planned. After being signed by the Basques in the summer of 2017, the Romanian continued at Viitorul Constanta before formally joining Athletic the following year. When the deal was first announced Ganea was seen as a player who could compete for the starting left-back role at San Mamés, but things changed.
Last summer Yuri Berchiche was put on the market by PSG, something that Athletic couldn’t have predicted a year earlier when they signed Ganea. The Lions jumped at the chance to sign Berchiche who became the club’s second most expensive transfer in history. Ganea then found himself in a difficult situation knowing that minutes would be hard to come by.
It would take until December for Ganea to finally make his Athletic debut. A few weeks later Gaizka Garitano took over as manager and told the Romanian that it would be best for him to leave on loan in order to enjoy regular minutes and prove himself. In January Ganea accepted a move to Numancia in the Segunda for the remainder of the season and the decision proved to be a success.
Ganea immediately earned a starting role at Numancia where he featured in 17 matches and registered 2 assists. The 27-year-old was a key player for the team and showed many of the qualities that originally attracted interest from Athletic. Ganea admitted that it took some time to adjust to football in Spain, but after such a successful loan spell he returns to Athletic this summer ready to truly compete for a place in the team.
It won’t be easy to convince the Mister. Berchiche and Balenziaga still stand in Ganea’s way for minutes while Andoni López will also be returning from loan with hopes of earning a role. However, Ganea will come into the preseason with a much better understanding of the club and what it takes to compete at this level.