Athletic Club has yet to sign a new player for the first team squad, but they have brought in many new faces for Bilbao Athletic. Gaizka Garitano is hoping to fight for promotion back to the Segunda and wants the strongest squad possible. On Friday it was announced that Athletic had officially signed Osasuna right-back Jesus Areso after paying his release clause of €450,000. Osasuna were immediately outraged.
Osasuna published a response to Athletic’s signing, giving reasons why they were angered. To begin with, they claim that the Lions had continued to ask about players that Osasuna didn’t want to sell and then on Friday the La Liga offices notified the Pamplona-based team that Athletic had paid Areso’s release clause. They also accused Athletic of abusing their power and being sarcastic during negotiations. Osasuna ended the announcement by saying that they were officially ending their relationship with Athletic Club. This has happened in the past when Athletic signed Javi Eraso and Isma Lopez from Osasuna back in 2005. The Pamplona-based club severed relations with the Lions then too.
The announcement was a bit confusing. Osasuna has historically refused to sell players to Athletic unless they pay the release clause, and even last summer they chose to sell Mikel Merino to BVB for a smaller fee than the Lions had perviously offered. The majority of Athletic fans did not even believe that there was a relationship with Osasuna due to recent events. Regardless, Osasuna now says that they refuse to have any negotiations with Athletic over transfers and that if they are interested in players they will have to pay the release clauses, like they did with Areso.
Jesus Areso, who just recently turned 18, is a very promising right back who could turn out to be a brilliant signing. He has competed regularly with the Spain National Team youth levels and was in line to spend the preseason with Osasuna’s first team. He will bring heavy competition at Bilbao Athletic for Jon Sillero and Jon Agirrezebala. The other side of this transfer means that Athletic’s hopes of signing Alex Berenguer have taken a hit. They will have to pay his €9 million release clause, which the Lions have firmly stated that they will not do.