Asier Villalibre And Cristian Staying Put As Transfer Window Closes
Gaizka Garitano began the preseason on 4 July with 33 players at his disposal. Naturally, it was important to trim the squad and over 10 players were linked with moves away from Athletic. As the weeks passed by Iñigo Vicente, Peru Nolaskoain, Andoni López, and Hodei Oleaga all left on loan while Oihan Sancet and Dani Vivian were informed that they would split time with the first team.
Asier Villalibre and Cristian Ganea were also informed that they would be sent out on loan, but for the past few weeks both have been waiting for a move to happen.
The two players received interest from clubs in the Segunda though an agreement was never reached. As Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta recently explained, financial limitations prevented clubs from being able to afford the minimum wages necessary to sign Villalibre or Ganea. In the final days of the transfer window the pair finally looked to have chances to leave but deals never materialized.
Tenerife were reportedly close to signing Cristian Ganea to replace Isma López. However, López never left which meant that Ganea was not needed. Meanwhile, Barcelona B were seriously interested in signing Villalibre on loan but the move was ruled out by Alkorta who didn’t want the 21-year-old to play another year in the Segunda B, especially for another club’s reserve team.
The transfer window officially slammed shut on Monday with Asier Villalibre and Cristian Ganea staying put at Athletic. In the months to come both will fight for minutes in Garitano’s team and will have another chance to leave on loan when the transfer window opens again in January.