Levante Place €15 Million Price Tag On Athletic Target Aitor Fernández
Aitor Fernández has established himself as one of La Liga’s premier goalkeepers since returning to the Primera in 2018. Boasting some of the best stats in the league, Fernández has been in terrific form over the past two years but is said to be interested in leaving Levante this summer, per Cadena Cope de Valencia last month. The 29-year-old has already caught the eyes of Athletic.
With Iago Herrerín growing more frustrated with his limited chances behind Unai Simón, his days in Bilbao could be numbered. Gaizka Garitano would like the veteran to finish out the last year of his contract next season, but the club will also entertain the idea of letting Herrerín leave if a replacement can be found. For the past few months it’s been very clear that Athletic would love to bring Fernández back to take over for Herrerín.
Fernández, a product of Lezama, has never hidden his desire to wear the Zurigorri shirt again. “I have always said that at some point in my career I would like to go home,” he said back in March. In fact, the report from Cadena Cope de Valencia went as far to say that Athletic Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta has already reached out to Fernández’s agent who in turn has told Levante that he would like to return to his boyhood club.
Signing Fernández would be a massive deal for Athletic, but far from easy. The shot-stopper is currently under contract through 2023 with a €30 million release clause. However, Javier Beltrán of AS has reported that Levante would be willing to sell Fernández for €15 million.
At this point there’s been no talks between Athletic and Levante. Sources claim that Alkorta is hopeful that Levante’s price tag will go down due as a result of the pandemic, but other clubs such as Real Sociedad and Real Betis have also shown interest.
Those close to the situation claim that Fernández wants to return to Athletic and the Basques are keen are bringing him back. Aitor Fernández would not only be a big improvement over Herrerín, but he’d also push Simón and bring veteran experience to the squad in an important position. For now the fee is the biggest hurdle as paying €15 million for a backup goalkeeper isn’t something Athletic are prepared to do at the moment.