Aitor Fernández “I Would like To Return To Athletic”
Aitor Fernández always dreamed of playing for Athletic. Having been raised at Lezama, the goalkeeper was an exciting young talent who flashed incredible potential while starting for Bilbao Athletic. Unfortunately, there was no path to the first team with Gorka Iraizoz and Iago Herrerín in the squad which eventually led to Fernandéz leaving the club in 2013.
Over the years Fernández would play for Villarreal B and Numancia before finally joining Levante in 2018 where he has exploded onto the scene. The 28-year-old has been one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga over the past two years and clubs have begun to take notice. Just a few days ago reports claimed that Athletic were interested in bringing Fernández back to replace Herrerín while Real Sociedad and Real Betis are also in the mix.
“I have a contract until 2023 and I’m happy here,” Fernández responded on Friday when asked about the rumored interest. Since then the goalkeeper has had more time to reflect on the possibility of returning to San Mamés and spoke with Cadena Ser on Monday where he admitted that it could be time to say goodbye to Levante.
“We will see if it’s the time or if it’s not the time,” he said. “I have always said that at some point in my career I would like to go home. I would like to return to Athletic, but I don’t know if it’s the time or not. A lot of things would have to be valued.”
Whether of not Fernández ultimately does leave Levante, he’s thoroughly enjoyed his time at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia. “I will be grateful to Levante because it’s the team that gave me the opportunity to play in the Primera,” he continued. “I have not yet thought at any time about what will become of me next season. I’m very happy here in Levante and my partner is also very happy.”
It comes as no surprise that clubs are showing interest in Fernández considering his excellent form over the past two years. “Obviously, I’m proud of the season I’m having and in the end it has repercussions. Having clubs interested in you means you’re doing something right. We will see what happens.”
Aitor Fernández is currently under contract through 2023 and has a release clause of €30 million. Reports suggest that Levante would be willing to accept a much lower fee if the 28-year-old wants to leave, though Athletic have yet to formally contact either the player or the club.