Gorka Santamaria has found it quite difficult to reach the Athletic first team. After joining Lezama at the age of ten, the striker rose through the young ranks and eventually dazzled for CD Basconia scoring 20 goals. However, he has yet to make the jump from Bilbao Athletic and was sent to the Segunda last year where he joined Cadiz on loan. Santamaria featured in 16 matches and scored two goals, but he has already been informed that he will be sent on loan again this year. In an interview with AS, the 21-year-old admitted that he expected the decision.
“I already knew the decision about my future before Amorrortu called me because it was expected. I cannot ask to spend the preseason with the first team when I didn’t even play much in the Segunda last year. You have to value all of the options of clubs that are interested in you, like style of play and coaching, before making a decision. There have been talks with several teams, but it is too soon to choose. My goal is to play and if I have minutes then the goals will come too.”
Santamaria went on to admit that finding a way to the first team is very difficult. Athletic already has a plethora of strikers in the squad and there just may not be a path for him in the near future. The 21-year-old also revealed that he has to improve his finishing and work harder than everyone else if he wants to play at the San Mames.
“You have to push hard to even make a dent in the first team. I do not know if I see a gap there, but I wish there was. Aduriz, Inaki Williams, Sabin Merino, Kike Sola, and Asier Villalibre are all great players. Some are established in the Primera, and others have shown they can already play there. Inaki is very versatile and gives a lot of different things to the team. I need to improve my finishing and get more minutes so that I can get better physically. I know I have to work harder and put in more hours than everyone else training in my position.”
While Santamaria did admit that a few clubs have been in contact, there is no word yet on who those clubs are. Athletic will clearly want guaranteed minutes for the striker, which could narrow down the list of potential suitors. Santamaria will not be the only player to leave on loan as Urtzi Iriondo recently joined Granada for the upcoming season and Markel Etxeberria is also fielding calls.