Jesús Areso Refuses Athletic Renewal
Since joining Athletic in the summer of 2017 Jesús Areso has shown the potential to become the club’s right-back of the future. In three years with Bilbao Athletic the former Osasuna standout has constantly improved and was rewarded by being called up to spend the preseason with the first team this summer. However, his time at the club may be coming to an abrupt end.
On Friday Radio Marca Bilbao reported that Areso had rejected a renewal offer from Athletic. With one year on his contract the 21-year-old was expected to sign a new deal until 2023 before leaving on loan, but Areso has made it clear that he will not agree to a new deal.
Negotiations with Areso began at the same time as Dani Vivian and the plan was for the pair to both renew and join Mirandés on loan. On an economic level, the club was unwilling to offer Areso higher wages than Vivian or make an exception to the wage structure in place. There are suspicions that Areso’s refusal stems from recent interest from Villarreal, per Javier Ortiz De Lazcano of El Correo, as well as Leicester City, and the player understands that he doesn’t have a clear path to the Athletic first team.
Ander Capa is close to signing a new contract of his own that would see the 28-year-old remain at San Mamés well past 2022. That being the case, Areso is aware that it could be several years before he would have the chance to compete for a starting role or even consistent minutes at Athletic.
Areso’s refusal to sign a new deal saw him dropped from the squad ahead of Athletic’s first friendly of the summer. The defender would have played against Logroñés, but has instead been sent back down to Bilbao Athletic for training. If the two sides are unable to reach an agreement Areso could follow the same path as Alex Remiro, also from the city of Cascante, who spent the final year of his contract without playing a single minute before leaving the club.
When Athletic paid Areso’s €450,000 release clause to sign him from Osasuna it was a controversial move that resulted in friction between the two Basque clubs. Three years later Jesús Areso could be set for a controversial exit after becoming one of Lezama’s top young prospects with a bright future ahead.