Athletic Identify Alain Oyarzun As Backup Option To Alex Berenguer

Alain Oyarzun

Athletic could choose to sign Alain Oyarzun over Alex Berenguer (CDN)

Athletic likely won’t be making any massive signings this summer, but the club is serious about strengthening the wing position. Gaizka Garitano’s system demands a lot from the wide players so adding more quality has become a priority. Torino’s Alex Berenguer quickly emerged as Athletic’s top target, though reaching an agreement won’t be easy.

Two years ago Athletic tried to sign Berenguer from Osasuna. Their pursuit was unsuccessful as Osasuna demanded the winger’s full €9 million release clause before eventually selling Berenguer to Torino for €5.5 million plus variables. The deal also included an anti-Athletic clause which means that Osasuna will receive €1.5 million if Torino were to ever sell Berenguer to Athletic.

Berenguer quickly found his footing in Italy, scoring 2 goals and providing 4 assists last season. Athletic have kept close eyes on the 23-year-old and once again want to bring him to San Mamés. Negotiations have been ongoing for a few now with Torino demanding at least €10 million in order to recuperate what they spent, pay Osasuna’s fee, and make a profit.

Athletic haven’t closed the door on meeting Torino’s asking price, though they are hoping to negotiate the fee down. However, with the summer just getting started neither club is in a hurry to finalize a move. That being said, the Lions prefer not to overpay for Berenguer and have already identified Alain Oyarzun as a secondary option according to a report from Ander Cotorro of Marca.

Oyarzun grew up at Real Sociedad’s academy but was never able to solidify a place in the first team. The winger left in 2017 to join Zaragoza before signing with Numancia the following year. Since making the move to Numancia, Oyarzun has played the best football of his career. Last season the 25-year-old scored 3 goals and provided 8 assists in just 24 matches, having missed 8 games due to injury.

Oyarzun is currently under contract with Numancia through 2020 and has a €1.5 million release clause. Athletic have been scouting the winger for the past few years and believe that he would fit well into the team, but signing Berenguer is still the priority at this point. The club has plenty of time to make a decision and they may not even sign anyone. Gaizka Larrazabal and Iñigo Vicente are both hoping to convince Garitano that they deserve a place in the first team so the choice will ultimately be up to the Mister.

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