‘I could stay at Betis, but…’

Benat Etxebarria has revealed that the door to renewing his contract at Real Betis is not yet closed, but that he still wants to progress in his career.

Talks over a new deal have stalled since the start of the season and, with only a year left on his current contract, speculation is that Betis may be forced to sell the creative midfielder this transfer window.

A number of clubs including former side Athletic Bilbao, Liverpool, Arsenal and Wolfsburg have previously been paired with the 26-year-old.

Even so, the Basque has commented that in dreaming of getting Los Beticos into Europe for next season and making the Spain squad for the Confederations Cup, his future could still be at the Benito Villamarin.

“Of course the door is not closed on a new contract. In contrast, it is open,” reflected Benat to AS today.

“Certainly I would like to play in Europe with Betis. What happens is that, like everyone else, I am looking to my future.

“And if my future has to be out of Betis, people should understand. We all want to progress, to move forward in our work.

“It is not true that I have accepted offers to play elsewhere yet. I’m very happy at Betis, I love the city, the weather, the people…

“Betis fans have so far respected me. When I take my girlfriend to the movies, they talk to me about the renewal and stuff, but that’s normal.

“Betis fans appreciate me and I hope that that continues.”

The playmaker was asked if he felt that Betis’ reported asking price this summer of €12m is fair.

“I do not think of my value, €12m, €15m or [the buyout clause of] €20m. It is something that I am flattered for, but it’s hard to believe, especially because I have been through a lot in a short time, less than three years.

“And I’m still a man of the people, trying to give value to what is happening, with the humility that I can.

“Any offers yet? There has been interest, beyond any concrete offer. And no, I cannot deny that since childhood my dream has been to play for Athletic, which is my home and where I grew up.

“But I do not know when or if ever that will be. Right now I have not been approached.”

Tags Benat