On Friday it was announced that Athletic Club had signed Osasuna starlet Jesus Areso by paying the 18-year-old’s release clause of €450,000. Immediately, Osasuna was angered and issued a statement claiming that their rivals had “abused their power and used sarcasm” when negotiating the sells over the last few days. Athletic immediately responded to the claims by laying out how the negotiations preceded each day and completely denying any wrong-doing over the course of the negotiations.
The following day, Osasuna Vice President and spokesman Alfonso Ramirez gave a press conference to discuss what had happened. He revealed that Areso was going to train with the first team this summer and that the player had agreed to double his release clause when the preseason began on 12 July. That fee would have then been €900,000 but Athletic wanted to negotiate a sale. When Osasuna refused to sell and told their rivals they would have to pay the clause, which was still €450,000 at the time, Athletic agreed and Areso chose to accept the move back to Bilbao where he had spent time previously in the Lezama system.
Osasuna are angry over how things turned out and have now announced that they have severed their relationship with Athletic. According to Ramirez, this means that they will no longer negotiate selling any player to Athletic Club. Furthermore, any future sells of players to other clubs will require an anti-Athletic clause. This means that if Osasuna were to sell a player to another club, that club would have to agree to the anti-Athletic clause. If the purchasing club ever decided to sell that player to Athletic in the future, they would have to pay Osasuna a sum of money because of it. Ramirez went on to say that they will refuse to sell any player without this clause inserted.
Of course, questions were immediately asked about Osasuna’s Alex Berenguer whom Athletic and Napoli have been pursuing all summer. Ramirez stated that Athletic could have bought the player for €7 million if it was a higher offer than Napoli, but now that isn’t possible. The Lions would have to pay his €9 million release clause to sign him. Additionally, he revealed that Osasuna will not sell Berenguer to Napoli unless they agree to the anti-Athletic clause.
Anti-Athletic clauses are not anything new and other clubs have used them in the past. In fact, Osasuna wanted Borussia Dortmund to accept and anti-Athletic clause when they signed Mikel Merino last summer, but the Germans refused to do so. This will make it much harder for Athletic Club to sign players from Osasuna which has worked out well in the past. On the surface it appears that Osasuna has openly declared war on Athletic, but those close to the situation wonder how long this policy can last due to Osasuna’s poor financial situation.