Espanyol Determined To Sign Ibai Gómez At All Costs
When Ibai Gómez made his return to Athletic last January big things were expected from the winger. Gómez had played the best football of his career at Alavés and promised to bring the same level back to San Mamés. However, the move to Athletic hasn’t quite worked out the way that he had expected with Gómez still unable to lock down a regular starting role in Gaizka Garitano’s team.
The 30-year-old has openly admitted that he isn’t satisfied with his minutes but is determined to prove himself to the manager and earn more opportunities. Returning to Athletic was a dream for Gómez who has the quality to be a very important player for the Zurigorri. Despite Gómez’s commitment to Athletic, other clubs have taken notice of his situation.
According to a report from Javier Beltrán of AS, Espanyol have made Gómez their top transfer target with the Catalans in desperate need of strengthening their squad. Espanyol manager Abelardo, who coached Gómez at Alavés, is said to have instructed the club to try to sign the winger “at all costs” and is confident that the move would significantly improve the team’s chances of escaping relegation.
Espanyol have already contacted Athletic in an attempt to convince the Basques to part with Gómez. The Catalans have proposed an offer for Gómez to leave Athletic on loan for the rest of the season with Espanyol having an option to purchase the attacker fully in the summer if they do manage to stay in the first division. Espanyol are serious about their pursuit of Gómez, but likely won’t be getting their wish.
Garitano recently made it clear that no one will be leaving Athletic this month and that he is counting on every player. Gómez may have only made 11 appearances so far this season but recent performances suggest that he will be given more consistent minutes moving forward. Unless something changes over the coming weeks, Athletic have no intention of letting Gómez leave for Espanyol.
Ibai Gómez is currently under contract with Athletic through 2022 and agreed not to include a release clause in his deal when he signed with the club one year ago. At the time he explained that returning to Athletic was his biggest dream and that he had no desire to play anywhere else. Espanyol will have the rest of the month to try to persuade Athletic to agree to a transfer but their efforts will almost certainly be in vain.