Athletic Patiently Pursuing Robert Navarro

Robert Navarro

Robert Navarro wants to leave Monaco this summer (MD)

Midfield starlet Robert Navarro wants out of Monaco and Athletic are ready to come to his rescue. After leaving Barcelona last summer because of a lack of opportunities, the 17-year-old left for France where he was still unable to find the chances he was promised. Navarro did become the youngest player to ever debut in Ligue 1 at just 16 years old, though he only featured 12 times for the Monaco reserves.

Despite his request to leave, Navarro was included in the Monaco first team for preseason training. A few days later the Osasuna product had taken down everything about Monaco on his social media profiles and was left out of the team that traveled to Switzerland for training. Athletic have remained attentive throughout the entire process and have emerged as a possible destination.

When Navarro was with Barcelona it was impossible for Athletic to sign the starlet. Not only was he one of the top players at La Masia, but when he decided to leave clubs like Manchester City and Arsenal were in the running to become his new home. There was no way that the Basques could compete with the money from rival suitors but that seems to have changed with Navarro’s request to leave Monaco.

The 17-year-old has had bad experiences at both Barcelona and Monaco. Two big clubs have promised chances for one of the top young players in European football but failed to do so. Now, as Navarro looks to leave France, clubs like Manchester City and Real Madrid are showing interest. The lure to join another rich club is always strong, but there’s no reason to believe that anything will be different.

Robert Navarro

Roberto Navarro became the youngest player to debut in Ligue 1 last season (AS)

According to a report earlier this week from La Cantera De Lezama, Navarro is close to signing with Athletic. Doing so would see the midfielder train with the first team and be given the chances that he’s missed out on elsewhere. Navarro has many friends at Athletic and even shares the same agent as players like Iñaki Williams and Yeray. The fact that he wants to leave Monaco will help facilitate a lower transfer fee, though Monaco will still want a sizeable sum for such a promising prospect.

Athletic’s interest and pursuit are real, but the Lions are being cautious. The only way to make a deal happen is to lower Monaco’s asking price and Javier Beltrán of AS has reported that Athletic are in no rush to move things along quickly. In fact, the Basques haven’t even formally contacted Monaco because of the difficulty of reaching an agreement. Patience will theoretically help drive the price down, though with other clubs also wanting to sign the starlet the plan could backfire.

Robert Navarro has two years left on his contract with Monaco and no release clause. The player wants out, but the French club will not part with him without proper reimbursement. Being one of the top young players in Europe, the rich clubs will come calling for Navarro but Athletic may be the best destination. Making the switch to Bilbao would allow the 17-year-old to move back closer to home and finally have the first-team chances that he wants so badly.

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