Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed that he will return to Athletic Club if Inaki Arechabaleta emerges victorious in the Basque club’s presidential elections this coming Friday. Arechabaleta is going to be running against Ricardo Barkala and Jon Uriarte.
Bielsa has said that he has already seen the 45 games Athletic played during the 2021/22 season as well as the 38 played by Bilbao Athletic and more played by other teams connected to the club. In total, he said, he’s seen and analysed 90 games.
Bielsa believes Athletic should have finished higher in La Liga than the eighth place finish they managed. He said they should have been closer to Sevilla, Real Betis and Real Sociedad and believes that Los Leones should generally be pushing for fifth or sixth place. It’s believed Bielsa will sign a two-year deal should Arechabaleta win the election. He knows the club well having coached at San Mames previously between 2011 and 2013.
“I am excited to think about joining a group that can deliver a version similar to the level we had ten years ago,” Bielsa said in comments carried by Marca. The Argentine also revealed his initial response when approached by Arechabaleta back in March.
“I said I liked the team and that I also understood the best thing was for the coach who was there at the time to continue because the project was still developing. Inaki told that they would wait to see what position Marcelino took.” Once he left, the path was paved.