Gorka Santamaria was once one of the most promising young strikers at Lezama. After joining the academy in 2005, he went on to showcase his quality in front of goal and rose quickly through the youth ranks. After scoring 20 goals for feeder club CD Basconia he was promoted to Bilbao Athletic where he began to blossom even more. Three years ago he led the team in scoring with 18 goals which saw Bilbao Athletic earn promotion to the Segunda. It began to look as though he could make a run at the first team but last year’s loan move saw his career take a major step back. Now that dream looks to be over.
On Wednesday Athletic officially announced that they had reached a mutual agreement with Gorka Santamaria to terminate his contract with the club. In addition, the 22-year-old joined Recreativo Huelva on a permanent deal, although the Lions do have the option to bring him back before the start of next season.
When Santamaria joined Cadiz last season he was expected to feature as the club’s starting striker, although that did not turn out to be the case. The Lezama product featured in a total of 18 matches, scoring two goals, but only saw a total of 476 minutes of action. After searching for a new loan move this summer it became increasingly clear that clubs in the Segunda were not reaching out to Santamaria who was spending his time training with Bilbao Athletic. Without a path to the first team both sides came to the agreement that it would be best to cut ties and allow the striker to decide his own future.
Santamaria played a big role at Bilbao Athletic under Kuko Ziganda and was integral in the reserve side earning promotion to the Segunda. He will have the chance to do so once again with Recreativo Huelva where he is expected to compete for a starting role. Seeing a once promising youth product leave the club is always sad, but Athletic can bring him back next summer if he impresses this season. Perhaps a change of scenery is just what the striker needs to get back to playing his best football.