‘Benat goes only for €20m’

Pepe Mel has asserted that Benat Etxebarria will only leave the club this January for his buyout clause of €20m.

The midfielder has so far failed to agree to extend his contract at the club beyond June 2014, leading to a return in speculation about a move away, with Liverpool and Manchester City suggested as interested parties.

For Mel, however, the player will only be leaving if the buyout clause in his current contract is met.

“Benat’s clause is €20m and he is only going for €20m. Selling him for anything less than that would be a disaster. The club has to defend their position and Benat knows that,” explained Mel, who also revealed that Jose Canas had failed to agree a new contract.

“If Betis found another scenario, we might act. For a minimum amount of money to go into the market to find a replacement, the only figure is €20m.

“He has one year left on his contract and he knows that we will comply because the club is in a position of economic helplessness.”

The Coach was talking ahead of Friday’s return to action on the pitch, the trip to Real Zaragoza.

“We are thinking only about winning. It is important because it is the next game, it is also the first of the year and the last game of last year left us with a bad taste [the home defeat to Mallorca].

“Hopefully that result will not happen again. Zaragoza are flying, they will make it hard for us.”

Despite that defeat to Mallorca in their last game, Betis start the new year in fifth place, just three points off a Champions League spot.

“Are we a revelation of the season? When we spent three or four days there, I was surprised because I did not expect it. That we have been there for longer, it continues to surprise me.

“But, when you are in Week 18 and in a League so difficult as this, nothing is by chance, because the group are working and deserve this.

“There remain 20 rounds, this must be maintained for much longer. For us to fight and maintain this privileged position, it would be good to be stronger, especially with the news of the injures to Alex Martinez and Juan Carlos [both out for two months].”

The club were running a scheme today where fans were encouraged to donate blood to the local hospital in exchange for receiving a ticket to Week 19’s match with Levante.

“It’s great news, it is not surprising. We know the social commitment that Betis already has.”

Tags Astiazaran Benat Mel