Athletic Club will begin their Europa League season in just four days when they will travel to Romania to take on Dinamo Bucuresti. It will be the first leg of the third qualifying round with the return leg taking place at the San Mames one week later. The Lions have been busy in preparations for the upcoming match and Cuco Ziganda has been working hard to put together his new system as well as player combinations that he would like to use this year. Athletic wants to go far in the tournament and has now announced the squad for Europe.
On Sunday Athletic released their 24-man Europa League squad which also gave fans the chance to see new player numbers. For instance, Enric Saborit took Gorka Elustondo’s number 3 and Yeray took number 5 from Javi Eraso who is expected to leave soon. Asier Villalibre has number 12 which was taken from Mikel Vesga who will wear 21 instead. Kepa Arrizabalaga, as expected, took the number 1 shirt from the departed Gorka Iraizoz while Ager Aketxe kept his number 23.
There was a bit of intrigue when the squad was released because of the players that were left off. Unai Lopez did not see his name on the list which suggests that he could be leaving on loan. Also, Inigo Cordoba and Unai Nunez were absent from the squad which has most fans confused. It has looked as though they have earned their place in the team, but perhaps Ziganda doesn’t want to risk them in Europe. Additionally, Unai Simon was left off because he is expected to return to Bilbao Athletic soon.
Ziganda still has move moves to make before his squad is complete. There are currently 29 players in the team and he is expected to trim it down to roughly 25. This list could still change, but for now it does give fans a sneak peak of what this year’s team will look like. Athleticzales won’t have to wait long as the new season kicks off in just four more days when the Lions will travel to Romania.