Gaizka Garitano In No Hurry To Negotiate Renewal But Has No Doubts About His Future With Athletic
It’s been one year since Gaizka Garitano took over as the manager of Athletic, 365 days, and the success has been undeniable. Since the coaching change Athletic have earned the fourth-most points in La Liga, boast one of the best defenses in Europe, and are now a top contender to compete for Champions League qualification season. Garitano has brought stability and strength back to San Mamés and will be the one to lead the club forward.
Garitano last renewed his contract with Athletic back in April, extending his deal through this season. Despite the fact that the manager’s current contract is set to expire at the end of the campaign, there are no doubts from Garitano or Athletic about his future at the club. In fact, both sides are taking a renewal for granted at this point. “There is no doubt about his future, which has nothing to do with how the season goes,” a source told Javier Ortiz de Lazcano of El Correo.
Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta has also made it clear that Athletic have been very happy with Garitano’s performance since becoming manager. “I wish that Garitano will be here for a long time,” Alkorta said in a recent interview. “That’s the idea of the club. He and I understand each other very well and we are fiends. Hopefully we can renew his contract at any time.
The decision has already been made. President Aitor Elizegi wants to Garitano to remain the manager throughout his tenure, which ends in 2022, and the Mister has no plans to leave the club. Garitano has already informed Athletic that he has every intention of continuing as manager for the foreseeable future but is in no hurry to negotiate a new contract because he doesn’t want to cause a distraction for the team and prefers to focus on the season.
“I have a contract for this season,” Garitano said when asked about the situation ahead of Athletic’s match against Granada. “I’m enjoying what I’m doing and right now I want to concentrate on improving the team. That (the renewal) can be handled later. What I’m worried about right now is the day to day of the team and that the fans are happy with the progress of the team. That’s the important part right now, the rest doesn’t matter.”
Athletic are confident that a deal will be easily reached once the two sides finally sit down for negotiations and will not rush the manager. Instead, the club will wait until Garitano is ready which is expected to be at some point in the next three months when the team’s position in the table is even more clear. “We will sit down to talk whenever he (Garitano) wants,” the source told El Correo.
The great relationship between Garitano and the Board of Directors is evident. There is full trust on both sides and it will only be a matter of time before a renewal is announced. Gaizka Garitano has dreamed of coaching Athletic and has done an exceptional job over the past year. Though nothing is official at this point, Garitano will continue as the manager of Athletic Club next season and possibly beyond.