Elche Reportedly Lining Up Loan Move For Athletic Forward Asier Villalibre
Despite scoring 23 goals last season with Bilbao Athletic and renewing his contract through 2023, it will be very difficult for Asier Villalibre to earn a place in the first team squad this summer. There are currently four strikers in the squad, led by Iñaki Williams and Aritz Aduriz, which means that Villalibre is directly competing with Kenan Kodro. Gaizka Garitnao will give the 21-year-old the chance to prove himself and, in the meantime, several clubs are watching the situation closely.
Several teams from the Segunda are interested in signing Villalibre on loan with Sporting the most recent to be named. On Monday, new reports claim that Elche have also expressed their desire to have the striker for the upcoming season. Elche have a strong relationship with Athletic and hope that will help facilitate a transfer this summer. If so, Villalibre would be expected to feature heavily at Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero.
Garitano has yet to make a decision regarding Villalibre. It’s unlikely that the young forward would see significant minutes this season, but he’s also shared that he doesn’t want to leave on loan and would prefer to stay at San Mamés and learn from the likes of Aritz Aduriz. The Mister could also choose to keep all four strikers in the team. This week the Lions are training in Germany where players like Villalibre will have their biggest opportunity to convince Garitano.
One player that will definitely be leaving this summer is left-back Andoni López. After spending last year on loan with Almeria, the 23-year-old will go out again with Deportivo emerging as a possible destination last week. López was left behind as the team traveled to Germany, training with Bilbao Athletic instead, and has now been linked with Elche as well. Athletic Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta recently admitted that the club is looking for the best move for the young defender and that playing time will be a huge factor in the decision.