Mikel Rico Returns To Huesca, Ander Iturraspe Signs With Espanyol
Six Athletic players ended their careers with the club this summer when their contracts expired on 30 June. Markel Susaeta, Ander Iturraspe, and Mikel Rico all enjoyed a farewell tribute at San Mamés while Sabin Merino and Xabi Etxeita never returned from their loan assignments. Alex Remiro’s situation was clear after he refused to negotiate a new contract and he was the first to find a new home.
A few days ago Real Sociedad officially announced that they had signed Remiro who put pen to paper on a contract running through 2023. The 24-year-old is expected to battle for the starting goalkeeper role and will make his return to San Mamés on the third Matchday of the La Liga season. Sabin Merino appears to be the second player to have settled his situation.
There has been reported interest from clubs such as Deportivo and Huesca, but 27-year-old is now listed on the official Leganés website with the number 9 shirt. There’s been no formal announcement, though sources claim that Merino has agreed to a contract with the Madrid-based club after spending last season on loan at Butarque.
For Mikel Rico, there was only ever one true option. “I want to go to Huesca and they want me there”, he said in a recent interview. On Sunday the move became official when Huesca announced that Rico has signed a two-year contract. After spending the last 6 years with Athletic, Rico returns to Huesca where he will try to help the club earn promotion back to the first division.
Three former Lions remain. Markel Susaeta has already rejected offers from Mexico while also attracting interest from Japan, Australia, South Korea, and now AEK Athens who are making a strong push to sign the Athletic legend. A move to the Greek club would see Susaeta join former teammate Erik Moran and compete in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League. There has also been talk of potentially moving to MLS.
Ander Iturraspe has also received offers from Greece, mainly from PAOK, as well as Getafe. Unlike Susaeta, Iturraspe has been open to staying in Spain and on Monday it was announced that he has signed with Espanyol where he will be able to compete in the Europa League. Lastly, Xabi Etxeita’s future is the biggest mystery. Huesca has already expressed their desire to retain the defender, however Etxeita has publically said that he wants to stay in the first division. Both Leganés and Real Valladolid are reportedly interested in signing the 31-year-old.
FICHAJE | 🎩⚽️ Mikel Rico será jugador de la SD Huesca las próximas dos temporadas.
Teníamos tantas ganas de decirlo como vosotros de escucharlo…
— SD Huesca (@SDHuesca) July 7, 2019