Mikel San José “Javi Martinez Would Be Welcomed With Open Arms”
Mikel San José could make his 300th La Liga appearance on Sunday as Athletic face off with Osasuna at El Sadar and it would certainly be a special occasion. Having been born and raised in Pamplona, San José has a special place in his heart for Osasuna. If he can’t reach the milestone at San Mamés, he would love to do so in his home town.
“Hopefully there will be an opportunity to play at El Sadar and reach 300 league games with Athletic,” San José told Fuera de Juego during an interview on Tuesday night. “Doing it with this shirt in front of family and friends would be very nice. Playing at home, in Iruñea, in front of so many friends would be very beautiful and special.”
San José has many friends at Osasuna and wants the very best for his hometown club. Having Navarra represented in La Liga is very special for the community and the midfielder hopes that they will be able to continue in the Primera.
“I have never played for Osasuna but I have always had many friends there, especially Roberto Torres. I spent many years with him at Txantrea. Osasuna is a club that I always want to be in the Primera. It’s the team of my city, of Navarra, and although I have never played there nor am I an Osasunista, because I’m from Athletic, I want Navarra to be represented at the top.”
At the moment, San José is in an uncertain situation. The 30-year-old is currently in the final year of his contract with Athletic and the club plans to analyze San José’s contribution throughout the season before deciding whether or not to offer a renewal.
“I want to continue at Athletic, but everyone has to understand that we all have families and that there are things that can’t wait until June,” San José answered when asked about the situation. “Hopefully everything can be resolved before then.”
Despite growing up at Lezama, San José never thought that he would make it to the first team. “I have been passionate about football since I was little, but when I arrived at Athletic I didn’t think about all this,” he admitted. “When I went to Liverpool I thought a little more, but when I returned I still didn’t expect to fulfill this dream. The dream is more than fulfilled.”
Of course, with the breaking report earlier in the day that Javi Martinez could be returning to Athletic in January, San José was asked about the possibility. “If the club considers the option of bringing back Javi Martinez and he wants to return, if the situation occurs, he will be welcome,” answered San José. “A teammate like Javi would always contribute a lot to a team like ours.”
San José believes that Martinez would bring a lot of quality to the team and made it clear that the squad would be excited to see the Bayern Munich midfielder back at Athletic. “Javi is a great player and he was a great teammate. The possibility that he could come back to contribute is very good. Good players always have a place if they want to be here. If their wish is to return and the club sees is that way, then go ahead. This locker room is a part of his past and he will be welcomed with open arms.”
While Dani García and Unai López have been the chosen pair in the Athletic midfield, there’s still a chance that San José could feature in Sunday’s Basque Derby. Since Gaizka Garitano took over as manager San José has been regularly brought on late in games in order to protect a lead or to be a scoring threat from set pieces. The decision will ultimately be up to Garitano as Athletic will be tasked with ending Osasuna’s 31 game unbeaten streak at El Sadar and bringing three points back home to Bilbao.