Oier Zarraga Exploding In First Season With Bilbao Athletic
The next generation of Athletic is always just around the corner. Each season new young players break out and show that they could one day reach the first team as Lezama continues to produce top talent. Over the past year Oihan Sancet and Unai Vencedor have been the ones to receive the most praise but there is another who isn’t far behind.
Oier Zarraga joined Lezama back in 2009 and was one of the stars of the 2016/2017 Juvenil A team before being promoted to CD Basconia. After spending two years as a key player for the Basauritarras, the midfielder made the step up to Bilbao Athletic over the summer and has absolutely exploded under the guidance of manager Joseba Etxeberria.
In just 18 appearances the 20-year-old has scored four goals and provided just as many assists. However, his production has been far greater than statistics would suggest. Zarraga has been the maestro in the middle of the field, often pulling the strings in attack and creating chances for teammates. The argument can be made that Zarraga has actually been the most important player in the team and he’s getting better with each match.
When the season began no one was expecting Zarraga to have this level of impact. The midfielder was competing with Victor San Bartolomé and Antonio Salado for a place in the lineup, but it’s safe to say that he’s become an unquestioned starter for Etxeberria. Zarraga was excellent once again on Saturday as he helped lead the Kumeak to a massive 2-0 win over Real Sociedad.
Capable of playing on the wing or in a double pivot, though far better in an attacking midfield role, Oier Zarraga has taken an incredible step forward in his first year with Bilbao Athletic. If he continues to play at this level throughout the rest of the season it’s very likely that the Lezama product will be called up to train with the first team over the summer and the opportunity will be fully deserved.