Gaizka Garitano Makes First Round Of Cuts To Trim The Squad
It’s been nearly two weeks since Athletic began preseason training and during that time Gaizka Garitano has been analyzing the state of the squad. With 33 players currently under his leadership, the manager wants to trim the team down to around 24 which means several will have to leave. Garitano made it clear that he would give each and every player the opportunity to earn their place, but he’s already made the first round of cuts.
Peru Nolaskoain, Cristian Ganea, and Andoni López will not play at Athletic this season. Garitano has personally told all three that they are not a part of his plans and the trio will leave on loan. Nolaskoain already knows his destination. Athletic and Real Zaragoza have reached a loan agreement for the midfielder which could be made official in the next few days.
Things aren’t so clear for Ganea and López. Sporting have expressed interest in signing Ganea, but Athletic will continue to field offers to find the right fit. The same is true for López who has been requested by Deportivo. Both left-backs wouldn’t have regular minutes at Athletic if they stayed this season, nor would Nolaskoain with the team already overloaded in the midfield. All three could leave before the team travels to Germany on Sunday.
Sending just three players out on loan won’t be enough to trim the squad down. Others will have to leave as well and several Lions have attracted interest. Iñigo Vicente, Asier Villalibre, Hodei Oleaga, Jokin Ezkieta, Iñigo Lekue, Unai López, and Mikel Vesga are all candidates to go out on loan and most have had at least one club contact Athletic over a possible transfer.
Garitano won’t make a decision regarding the remaining players until he has the opportunity to see them compete in friendlies during the preseason. Vicente has had the most attention with as many as seven Segunda clubs hoping to take him on loan, but Garitano will give him the chance to earn his place along with the others. The fate of three Lions has already ben decided but the rest will have to perform well during the Germany trip to survive the next round of cuts.