Rafa Alkorta Denies Reports That Athletic Have Been In Talks To Sign Javi Martinez
The new year is just around the corner and with it the first year of Aitor Elizegi’s presidency will come to a close. It was 27 December of 2018 when the famous chef won the election and much has changed since then. On Friday, Elizegi and Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta were special guests on Onda Vasca where they answered questions about major topics surrounding the club and also cleared up a few issues as well.
To begin with, Athletic were drawn against fellow Bizkaian club Sestao River for the second round of the Copa del Rey which will be a truly historic match. “It’s great news,” said Elizegi. “We have a lot of enthusiasm and respect for this game. It’s a beautiful match to support a team from Bizkaia and it will take place over a weekend. It’s a historic match for Sestao. The relationship between both clubs is magnificent.”
Likewise, Alkorta admitted that Sestao River were one of the clubs he was hoping to draw and believes the Derby will be incredible for football in Bizkaia. “The draw is great news. Sestao is one of the teams I liked the most as a possible opponent because of the environment and the history, because of everything.”
The conversation then turned to Alex Remiro who recently gave an interview where he explained his side of the story and why he chose to not renew his contract with Athletic last season. Remiro spoke negatively of the former Board led by Josu Urrutia, while Elizegi also pointed out that his directive were not in office at the time of the events.
“The most important thing is what we weren’t at Athletic yet. After Athletic, I want Basques teams to always win. It’s good that there are teams that believe in developing young players and in local talent. Sometimes La Real have doubts when there is a position to fill. It’s difficult to wait for one of the young players because it’s a complex situation in football. You don’t always have the best in that position at all times, but Athletic does wait. That makes us suffer, but also makes us very strong.”
While Elizegi wished Remiro well in his career, he also admitted that he couldn’t understand the goalkeeper’s decision to leave Athletic. However, the president wouldn’t question the choice of another person.
“I don’t understand why Remiro’s friends didn’t tell him to debut at San Mamés with Iribar’s shirt. I, for example, would have given almost everything to do that and remember it forever. Everyone makes his own choice in life and I would never think of not wishing the best to a kid who wants to progress. I know it’s difficult to make a career in professional football as a goalkeeper, so I wish him health and luck.”
Alkorta was more direct when addressing the topic. “We wanted him to stay,” he said bluntly. “An offer was made and the boy said no. There’s nothing more. What each person says is very personal. There are no more assessments to make about Alex because he plays for Real. Period.”
Unsurprisingly, the Sporting Director was asked about the recent reports claiming that Athletic were in talks with Bayern Munich to sign Javi Martinez. “It’s a lie, nothing more than talk. Don’t give importance to something that’s not true. I told a person in the press ‘how dare you report such news without even asking me if it’s true’.”
Alkorta went on to praise Martinez as a player and person, but says that the only reason he attended the friendly at Lezama was to visit with some of his former teammates.
“He’s an interesting player, a very good player, but when that news was published there was nothing at all and not now either. Of course, we have a good relationship with Javier, but he’s a Bayern Munich player and there is nothing more to say.”
In closing, Alkorta was asked directly if Athletic would consider bringing back Martinez in January. “We still don’t know anything about the winter market but, as I always tell you, anyone who can wear the Athletic shirt interests us,” answered the club legend. Whether or not Athletic have actually made contact with Bayern Munich over a possible transfer, Javi Martinez has publicly stated that he would like to return to San Mamés and it may on be a matter of time before his wish comes true.