How Athletic Club Missed Out On Signing Robert Navarro
Robert Navarro was one of the prizes of the summer. Widely regarded as one of the best young players from Spain, the 17-year-old had already made his Monaco debut last season but was unhappy with life in France and wanted to return home. Naturally, several clubs were interested in signing the attacking midfielder but Athletic were unable to get a deal done.
Athletic were linked with Navarro for the entire summer with some reports going as far to say that a transfer agreement was nearly complete on more than one occasion. In the end, the former Barcelona and Osasuna product signed with Real Sociedad for a fee that could climb as high as €6 million which was far less than most sources believed it would cost to convince Monaco to sell.
Seeing Navarro join Real Sociedad on the final day of the transfer window for such a small fee, albeit with lofty wages for a teenager, had many Athletic fans frustrated. Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta tried to claim that the club never thought about signing Navarro, though that was hard to believe. Due to Athletic’s unique player policy fans believe that signing Navarro should have been a priority and over the past few days more light has been shed on how the situation unfolded.
According to an exclusive report from Javier Ortiz de Lazcano of El Correo, Athletic were in talks with Monaco from the start. General Manager Jon Berasategi is said to have submitted a proposal to Monaco early in the summer but the French side immediately rejected it and demanded a much higher fee, greater even that the agreement that was eventually reached with Real Sociedad.
Athletic were unwilling to overpay for the teenager and broke off negotiations until the final days of the transfer window when Monaco initiated talks once again. The French side reportedly informed Athletic of their deal with Real Sociedad and asked if they could make a better offer but it was too late to do so as Navarro already had an agreement in place with La Real.
Time will tell whether or not missing out on Robert Navarro will be a huge loss for Athletic. The midfielder is certainly an incredible talent who has the potential to become a great footballer. Athletic’s unique player policy is a source of pride for the club, but will always made it difficult to sign players with selling club’s fully aware that Athletic have few other options. For now, the Lions will put their faith in Unai López, Oihan Sancet, and other promising midfielders from Lezama.