Athletic Target Alex Berenguer Valued At €8 Million By Torino
Athletic’s general approach to transfers under Rafa Alkorta has been relatively cautious. Apart from publicly courting Ibai Gómez during the presidential election, the new Sporting Director has regularly talked down the club’s interest in other players, often pointing out that the market is small without many options.
Just a few days ago, in an in-depth interview with El Correo, Alkorta was asked about potential summer signings and admitted that there might not be any. “We don’t know if there will be any reinforcements because it’s difficult to sign anyone,” said the club legend. The assessment is correct. There just aren’t many players available right now that would realistically improve the squad.
For the most part only three players have been consistently linked with Athletic: Javi Martinez, Ander Herrera, and Alex Berenguer. The club’s desire to bring back Martinez is well document at this point and there was even talk of a possible return back in January. Alkorta has continuously pointed out that the 31-year-old is still under contract with Bayern Munich, but it’s no secret that Martinez would be happy to come back.
Herrera, on the other hand, recently made it clear that he’s not interested in a return to San Mamés. The PSG midfielder said in an interview that the only club he wants to play for once he leaves Paris is his boyhood Real Zaragoza. By process of elimination, among other things, Berenguer has emerged as the most feasible summer target for the Basque giants.
Unlike Martinez and Herrera, Berenguer’s best football is still ahead of him. Based on recent comments Alkorta and Gaizka Garitano seem wary of signing older players but Berenguer, who won’t turn 25 until July, could certainly be a key player for years to come.
Having already scored 5 goals and registered 3 assists this season, the Torino winger would bring valuable quality to a position where Athletic have had a significant lack of contribution. Berenguer is also a natural fit for Garitano’s system due to his strong work rate and willingness to help the team defensively. There’s no doubt that the Osasuna product would be a great addition to Athletic, but signing Berenguer won’t be easy.
“I’ve watched Torino matches, but we don’t know how much he would cost,” Alkorta said in his interview. “We haven’t done anything in that regard and he has two more years left on his contract. It would be another complicated operation.” Although Alkorta says there’s been no contact with Torino, the possible fee isn’t a complete mystery.
According to a report from Javier Beltrán of AS, Torino have put a value of around €8 million on Berenguer. This fee would see the Italians recover the €5.5 million they originally paid for the winger as well as the €1.5 million fee for the anti-Athletic clause that was placed in the deal by Osasuna. Considering the fact that Osasuna refused to sell Berenguer to Athletic three years ago for anything less than the player’s then-€9 million release clause, the Lions could still negotiate a fair deal with Torino.
Whether or not Athletic will seriously pursue Berenguer remains to be seen. With starlets like Iñigo Vicente, Gaizka Larrazabal, and Jon Morcillo all ready to fight for their place in the first team Berenguer may not be seen as a necessary addition. Either way, Alex Berenguer checks all the boxes as a signing who would improve the squad and be a natural fit for the system in place.