Gaizka Larrazabal And Gorka Guruzeta Will Reportedly Leave Athletic For Free With Buy-Back Clauses
It’s been a summer like none other for Athletic. After missing out on Europe for a third consecutive year, along with the recent pandemic, the club is looking to cut costs while also building a team strong enough to challenge for a top seven finish. Finding the right balance has been a challenge.
So far Hodei Oleaga and Cristian Ganea have both left Athletic after having their contracts terminated. Iago Herrerín will follow soon. There will be a number of other exits as well as several younger players will spend the upcoming season away on loan in order to have regular minutes and fight for their future at San Mamés.
However, some of the young players who will be leaving may not be set for loan moves. According to a breaking report from Radio Marca Bilbao, Gaizka Larrazabal and Gorka Guruzeta are both negotiating with Athletic to terminate their contracts in agreements that would see them sign with clubs in the Segunda. Athletic would retain a buy-back option on both forwards.
This option isn’t entirely surprising for Guruzeta who has struggled to recover his form after suffering a torn ACL in April of last year. With so much competition in the team, leaving Athletic would allow Guruzeta the freedom to get back to playing his best football while the club could always bring him back.
A similar move for Larrazabal, on the other hand, could come as a big surprise. The son of Athletic legend, Aitor Larrazabal, signed a new contract last summer and was promoted to the first team following a successful season with Bilbao Athletic. Gaizka Larrazabal may have not featured much, but did show flashes when handed opportunities.
Larrazabal was set to spend the season away on loan to have consistent minutes, though leaving for free is unexpected if true. Although Athletic would retain a buy-back clause the, allowing such a promising young winger to leave would be an odd move. Guruzeta is expected to sign with Fuenlabrada while Kuko Ziganda plans to bring Larrazabal to Rayo Vallecano. Both players are entering the final year of their contracts with Athletic.
Andoni López could also be set to leave for free with an option to return. After two unsuccessful seasons away on loan the left-back is entering the final year of his contract and doesn’t have a place in the first team. Newly promoted Logroñés have shown serious interest in signing López.
Allowing players to leave with buy-back clauses is a common move from bigger clubs. It allows a club to get wages off of the books while also having the opportunity to bring players back if they perform well. That could be the motivation behind the exits if they do indeed come to fruition and the price of the possible clauses will be an important factor as well.
On another note, the future of Jesús Areso is also in question. The young defender was originally set to leave the club on loan this season and would need to sign a new contract before making his exit, however, Radio Marca Bilbao have reported that an agreement is “complicated”. There are suspicions that another club may be interested in a permanent move for Areso who doesn’t have a clear path to the first team with Ander Capa entrenched as the starter.
Since joining Athletic from Osasuna back in 2017, Areso has quickly become one of the most exciting young players at the club. Seen as the right-back of the future and heir to Capa, Athletic have high aspirations for the 21-year-old. With one yet left on his contract, Jesús Areso could potentially be on his way out of Bilbao.