Athletic Step Up Pursuit For Alex Berenguer
Earlier this month Athletic manager Gaizka Garitano made a significant statement about the club’s possibility of signing reinforcements. When asked what the team’s biggest need is the manager hinted at a move for Alex Berenguer, though without calling the player by name.
“I would like to have more attacking players, a winger that contributes goals,” Garitano answered. It could only be taken as a reference to the Torino forward. Athletic have been following Berenguer for several years now and made the 25-year-old a top priority target going into this summer.
Over the past few months talks between Athletic and Torino haven’t really gone anywhere. The Italian side planned to offload Berenguer, but a deal has proved difficult. Now, with seven days until the transfer window closes, negotiations have picked up pace.
According to a report from Di Marzio, Athletic and Torino are in serious negotiations for the player. Torino value Berenguer at €15 million, a hefty price for Athletic, though other sources claim that an agreement could be reached for less than €10 million.
As part of the deal to sign Berenguer from Osasuna back in 2017, Torino agreed to an anti-Athletic clause. Selling Berenguer to Athletic would require Torino to pay Osasuna €1.5 million. However, reports in Italy suggest that the clause may not be legal, citing similar conditions ruled invalid in recent years.
Reports in Bizkaia have constantly referred to Berenguer as Athletic’s top target this summer, although the emergence of Jon Morcillo gives the team a different option. Capable of playing on the left wing or through the middle, Alex Berenguer brings versatility as well as creativity and goals. With talks ramping up the two clubs could finalize an agreement before the transfer window closes on 5 October.
Meanwhile, a move for Javi Martínez looks unlikely at this point. Athletic aren’t willing to make Martínez one of the highest paid players in the squad and reports suggest that the 32-year-old is content to see out the final year of his contract with Bayern Munich. A return to San Mamés will have to wait until next year.