Athletic Club Unlikely To Make Any Transfer Signings This Summer

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Athletic will likely have to turn to Lezama to reinforce the squad this summer (AC)

Every year Athletic’s transfer market dwindles. Between the club’s unique player policy and today’s high transfer fees, Athletic are finding it harder than ever to sign players for the first team. In recent year’s it’s become common for the Basques to go without bringing in any new reinforcements which could start happening more frequently in the years ahead.

This summer Athletic have been linked with three potential targets. Javi Martínez tops the list which includes Alex Berenguer and Aitor Fernández, although it’s looking increasingly more likely that the club won’t be making any transfer signings. In fact, sources close to the club and several reports in Bizkaia insist that it’s doubtful the club will sign anyone this summer.

Athletic have already ruled out bringing Aitor Fernández to the club. Although the 29-year-old would like to return to his boyhood club, Levante refuse to sell Fernández for anything less than €15 million, half of his €30 million release clause. With Iago Herrerín set to leave the club this summer, Athletic have chosen to promote Jokin Ezkieta to serve as the second goalkeeper.

Javi Martínez has been heavily linked with a move back to San Mamés for months now. The midfielder hasn’t been shy about his desire to wear the Zurigorri shirt again and Bayern Munich reportedly want to sell him this summer with one year left on his contract. However, the German outfit will only part with Martínez if a convincing offer is made. In other words, Bayern won’t help facilitate Martínez’s move to Athletic.

Javi Martinez Lezama

Javi Martinez will likely have to wait until next summer to return to Athletic (AC)

Lastly, Alex Berenguer has been a target for Athletic since his time with Osasuna. Now with Torino, Berenguer has blossomed into a talented left-winger and Athletic have been monitoring him closely. While he would certainly demand the lowest transfer fee, the 25-year-old does have an anti-Athletic clause in his contract from Osasuna. Ultimately, there’s no guarantee that Berenguer would be a big enough improvement at the position to risk overpaying.

Athletic would be thrilled to sign both Javi Martínez and Alex Berenguer this summer, but funds are limited. The departures of Mikel San José, Beñat, Aritz Aduriz, and maybe Iago Herrerín will help maintain the first team budget, set around €84 million next season, but won’t provide any added money for transfers.

Missing out on Europe for a third straight season and the pandemic have financially impacted the club. Despite the need to reinforce the squad for the upcoming season, Athletic’s market is small and the club likely won’t be able to afford transfers this summer. Instead, the first team will once again turn to Lezama and focus on renewals for key players.

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