Athletic Starlets Struggling To Make An Impact While Away On Loan
When Athletic’s preseason began way back on 4 July it was already clear that there wouldn’t be room for everybody. Gaizka Garitano had 33 players at his disposal and was tasked with building the best possible team while also ensuring that younger players had the opportunities needed to continue developing. In the end, four players left on loan with hopes of enjoying regular minutes but things haven’t necessarily gone well so far.
Inigo Vicente was the first to leave as the starlet joined Andoni Iraola’s project at Mirandés in the Segunda. The 21-year-old was expected to be a key player for the newly promoted side but has found it hard to break into the team. Vicente has made 7 appearances in the club’s 10 matches with a mere three starts. With his 265 minutes Vicente has provided one assist but has only managed to come on as a late substitute in the last two games.
Andoni López was the next player to leave and has had even fewer chances than Vicente. The left-back joined Elche back in August but had to wait, along with several other signings, to be registered to play as the club was settling a financial issue. The 23-year-old made his debut in the third game of the season in which he started against Real Zaragoza and committed a penalty that led to Elche losing the match.
Since then, López has come off the bench in a win over Real Oviedo but hasn’t featured again. He’s played just two matches and has gone the last five games without a single minute. Juan Cruz has earned the confidence of manager Pacheta which will make it increasingly difficult for López to see the field unless something changes.
Peru Nolaskoain’s move to Deportivo was derailed before it could really even begin. After making his debut as a substitute in the first game of the season, the 20-year-old underwent emergency surgery for appendicitis and missed six games while recovering. However, things have gone much better since his return. Nolaskoain has made three consecutive appearances and is quickly becoming a key player having started the last two matches. It will be up to new manager Luis César to decide what Nolaskoain’s role will be going forward.
Hodei Oleaga was the final player to leave on loan, but Athletic found it difficult to negotiate a move to the Segunda. Instead, Oleaga returned to the Segunda B where he joined Melilla and has had mixed results. The goalkeeper has played six straight games since joining the team, conceding 11 goals but also keeping three clean sheets.
It will be interesting to see how the situations change over the course of the season but for now Peru Nolaskoain is the one benefitting the most from his loan move. Vicente will continue working in hopes of getting more opportunities in the starting lineup while López must convince the manager that he deserves to be on the field. Oleaga has cemented his place as the starter for Melilla but has already proven himself in the Segunda B. All four players are hoping to show their quality over the coming months and earn a place at San Mamés next year.