Rafa Alkorta Explains Why Some Players Are Still Waiting To Leave On Loan
The La Liga season will officially begin on Friday night as Athletic host Barcelona at San Mamés. It’s an exciting time as the summer draws to a close, but Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta is still very busy. There are currently a handful of players still waiting to leave on loan and the club is working diligently to find assignments before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
“Loan players aren’t free”, Alkorta explained during Monday’s press conference. “There are clubs in difficult situations who have smaller budgets and limited financial power. Our contracts have penalties depending on how much our loaned players actually play. Having one of our players on loan and not playing them is unacceptable to us.” It’s a challenge, but Alkorta is determined to find solutions.
“Villalibre, Oleaga, and Ganea know they are going on loan, but they are working very well and their behavior is impeccable”, praised the Sporting Director. “They have not complained or put on a bad face. They have continued to work and want to play minutes with other teams in order to come back here.”
While Villalibre and Oleaga have received heavy interest, Ganea is still without any formal offers. Alkorta is hoping to find a club to take the Romanian on loan, though some sources believe that Ganea will stay with the first team until at least January and fight to prove himself to manager Gaizka Garitano.
There have been rumors linking both Iñigo Lekue and Mikel Vesga will exits as well, but Alkorta was quick to put those to rest. “Right now we aren’t working on transfers for them and they are part of the team”, he responded. “Lekue has had injuries but he’s very important for the coach because he has many things in his favor and can be a solution to problems. He’s a footballer with a motor and a good mind.” Lekue’s versatility is still extremely valuable to Athletic.
Alkorta was also asked about the plan for Oihan Sancet who dazzled during the preseason and will split time between Bilbao Athletic and the first team. “He’s a player with qualities that are difficult to find. We must also not forget that he just returned from a torn ACL and is 19. He has room for improvement and has to continue developing. We want to continue seeing him train with the first team and I’m sure he will play a lot, but it’s also true that the last step is the most difficult. Oihan has impressive quality.”
Jokin Ezkieta, the only summer signing, will be the starting goalkeeper for Bilbao Athletic this season and available to the first team if needed. “Right now there’s nothing on the table, but anything can happen until 31 August”, Alkorta answered when asked about other potential transfers. The season may be just around the corner but Rafa Alkorta’s work is far from over.