Athletic Club facing mass exodus with 7 players and manager out of contract

Basque giants Athletic Club could potentially say farewell to a third of their squad this summer, if they fail to tie them down to new contracts. All are out of contract this summer, as is manager Ernesto Valverde.

The former Barcelona manager signed a one-year deal after the elections last summer, coming in towards the end of June. Unless a major offer from abroad comes in, and even then, it seems most likely that they would be able to retain the tactician.

Ander Capa and Ander Herrera are also out of contract this summer, as pointed out by Diario AS, but Los Leones have the option to extend their deals by an extra year. Herrera will most likely stay since he only arrived in the summer, but Capa has been a rotational option for the last two seasons and is not guaranteed to remain.

However seven other players are currently free to negotiate their futures. Inigo Martinez, Inigo Lekue, Oier Zarraga, Raul Garcia, Asier Villalibre, Oscar de Marcos and Mikel Balenziaga are all free to negotiate new contracts with other teams.

Martinez, who was heavily linked with Barcelona last summer, is the headline name and seems unlikely to stay. Athletic have tried to begin talks over a new deal, talks that have been turned down.

In the cases of Lekue, Garcia, Villalibre and Balenziaga, all of them are rotational options and are likely to be keen to remain at the club anyway. It is hard to see many teams matching what Athletic can offer them.

De Marcos and Zarraga might be different. De Marcos, one of captains, has been a mainstay for Athletic for over a decade and most likely will stay. It is nevertheless a risk, given he is still a starter at right-back. Zarraga is on the edge of the starting XI, sometimes being given a shot but rarely starting. At 23, the versatile midfielder may attract interest from elsewhere though. Due to their Basque-only recruitment policy, even those that could develop into starters are often seen as necessary to retain though.


Image via Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Tags Asier Villalibre Athletic Club Ernesto Valverde Inigo Lekue Inigo Martinez Mikel Balenziaga Oier Zarraga Oscar De Marcos Raul Garcia
La Liga - Club News