Rafa Alkorta “We Never Thought About Signing Robert Navarro”

Rafa Alkorta

Rafa Alkorta believes Yeray is one of the 3 best defenders in La Liga (AC)

It’s been a few days since the summer transfer window closed and there are several questions surrounding Athletic at the moment. From the club’s failure to find loan moves for Cristian Ganea and Asier Villalibre to missing out on signing Robert Navarro there’s been a lot of uncertainty. Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta recently joined Radio Popular where he was willing to address all of the issues.

“We had to stay tuned until the final hours because you never know”, Alkorta began. “We were working all day trying to get both Cristian Ganea and Villalibre a team to play with and reduce the squad, but it couldn’t be. There was even some First Division clubs from other countries that were interested in these two players. They also have the decision to go to a club or not. Between some things and the other the two will continue here with the first team.”

Staying at Athletic won’t be easy, but the pair will be able to fight for their place in Garitano’s team. “Hopefully they are prepared to see if they are lucky in December or if the coach counts on them, which is difficult”, Alkorta continued. “They could find a team in January. Ganea and Villalibre are going to have a hard time and that’s why there were going to leave.”

Those who were able to leave on loan are in very good positions according to Alkorta. The Sporting Director believes they will have great opportunities to continue growing this season.

Inigo Cordoba Asier Villalibre Toulouse

Asier Villalibre will fight for his place at Athletic after not leaving on loan (AC)

“Nolaskoain, Vicente, and López have ended up at good teams. The experience that they will have at Deportivo, Mirandés, and Elche will be very good for them. Right now we are not considering bringing them back in the winter and their loan contracts include penalties for not playing. Oleaga went to Melilla because they were the ones most interested.”

In addition, there were questions over the summer regarding the future of Mikel Vesga who has stayed with the team. “It was clear to the Sporting Committee that Vesga had to be a first team player because he is a good football player and, in addition, we don’t have a market for midfielders”, answered Alkorta. “Mikel is a very good footballer and we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks.”

For months Athletic were linked with Monaco starlet Robert Navarro, but the Lions never submitted an offer for the 17-year-old who recently signed for Real Sociedad. “We never thought about signing Robert Navarro. As far as I know, it’s not a matter of philosophy, it’s simply a sporting issue.” Lastly, Alkorta was asked about the signing of Bibiana Schulze-Solano and whether or not she fits the club’s player policy. “The signing of Bibiana fits the club. The President’s explanation was sufficient.”

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