Rafa Alkorta Reportedly Met With Andoni Iraola In July To Discuss Future Plans

Andoni Iraola

Andoni Iraola could be in line to become the next manager of Athletic Club (MD)

Andoni Iraola’s impressive season as manager of Mirandés has fans excited about the possibility of the former Athletic captain one day returning to lead the Lions. That won’t be happening this year with Gaizka Garitano having recently renewed his contract with the club, but the seeds for an Iraola reunion have already been planted.

Radio Marca Bilbao have reported that Athletic Sporting Director, Rafa Alkorta, met with Iraola back on 24 July to discuss the manager’s intentions for the future. Based on the nature of the conversation, the discussion wasn’t about the upcoming season but rather Iraola’s plans for the years ahead.

The natural assumption is that the pair talked about the possibility of Iraola taking over as manager for the 2021/2022 season when Garitano’s contract expires. Alkorta and president Aitor Elizegi have been strong defenders of Garitano over the past year-and-a-half, but if the Mister fails to qualify for Europe again this season it’s very likely that the club will look to make a coaching change. If so, Iraola would be the top option.

For now Garitano has the confidence of the Board and a contract through the upcoming season. The manager has taken Athletic to the Copa del Rey final, which has been postponed due to the recent pandemic, but failing to qualify for Europe in two straight seasons has put Garitano on the hot seat. Another poor campaign could see Garitano on his way out and it appears as though Iraola could be the club’s choice to take over.

Iraola is currently being linked with numerous coaching jobs in the Segunda where he would be expected to sign a one-year deal, as is the case for most managers in the Second Division. Following his tremendous season with Mirandés, Andoni Iraola is a wanted man and could very well be just one year away from returning to San Mamés.

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