Aitor Elizegi Frustrated By “False” News Reports Regarding Unai Núñez’s Future
Aitor Elizegi oversaw his first General Assembly as Athletic President on Sunday where a handful of topics were approved by the Socio voting process. Supporters voted in favor of approving last year’s financial numbers, the budget for 2019/2020, as well as beginning the process of reforming the club’s bylaws. On Monday, Elizegi appeared before the media one again to touch on a few of the other topics as well.
To begin with, the President spoke openly about the club’s provisional fund. The current Board had to use €20 million to balance the books last season, but also contributed €60 million to the fund which has now reached €116 million. This fund is still a new concept and Elizegi says that future leadership must understand how to use it properly.
“Some debate the meaning of the provisional fund because it’s not normal. It’s a novelty that many don’t understand clearly. In the future, the Boards of Directors will have to learn to use this piggy bank. In these first ten months we have already made it grow for the future. The accounts at the close of the fiscal year are impeccable and transparent. The fund belongs to all who have managed to form it.”
In addition, Elizegi is still looking for ways to increase the club’s overall revenue. “San Mamés is one of the greatest tools to generate income and we have the obligation to make it one of the best fields in Europe”, he explained. “We will continue working and have a long journey ahead.” There has been fear the Board could entertain the idea of selling the naming rights, but that doesn’t appear to be true at this point.
When asked about the differences between Athletic’s unique player policy and that of Real Sociedad, the President was clear about club’s the commitment. “You have to be 100% because competition doesn’t stop growing”, he answered. “They have a tool that they call an advantage, being able to sign players from anywhere, but we don’t. We think that we can compete in women’s and men’s football in our way. We are well protected.”
In closing, the President addressed concerns over the future of Unai Núñez. The defender has been linked with several clubs such as Barcelona and Arsenal, but Elizegi says that he is a very important player to Athletic and believes that a renewal agreement will come.
“He has a contract with us and his value is indisputable. He’s a player who contributes on a sporting and personal level, to the team and in the locker room, and we aren’t contemplating another scenario besides a new contract. He’s an asset to this club, he’s one of ours, and this is his home.”
The President also addressed the many news reports of interested clubs and the fact that Núñez recently rejected a renewal offer. Elizegi is angry that so many outlets have made a private situation very public and was quick to claim that the stories are not true.
“We can’t comprehend why another club, or Board of Directors, are interested in misinterpreting or using false headlines regarding a private professional relationship. I don’t know any reason why that improves or helps the relationship between the player or the clubs, it’s disrespectful. Some of the insinuations in this case are…well, we are interested in them at all.”
In the weeks to come the truth about Unai Núñez will become clear. The defender wants to continue at his boyhood club, but he also wants to play and that isn’t happening at Athletic. It will be up to the club to convince the 22-year-old that he has an important present and future at San Mamés for a new contract to be signed.