Despite Athletic Club’s lack of activity over the transfer window, there was certainly a lot of drama. In early July the Lions angered neighbors Osasuna when they paid the €450,000 release clause for youth star Jesus Areso. From there, Osasuna made an announcement that they will not longer negotiate with Athletic and will demand “anti-Athletic” clauses be put into contract for any players they sell to other teams. With so much hostility, it was refreshing to hear that not all Basque clubs are taking this approach with Athletic.
On Tuesday, SD Eibar Sporting Director Fran Garagarza gave a press conference and took the time to discuss the recent selling of Ander Capa to Athletic Club. He stated that the player had agreed to sign a contract extension in June but requested a pro-Athletic release clause be placed in the deal. The new deal saw his release clause raised to €20 million, but would only require €3 million from Athletic Club.
“In the winter market we had a verbal commitment with Ander Capa to extend his contract. The deal was closed in June with a soft clause exclusively for Athletic Club at the request of the player. Eibar has not been hurt by the transfer. Capa has always identified very highly with Athletic, so there is nothing more to do but thank him and congratulate him on the move. We do not have any doubt that he will give a very high level of performance and that his commitment is totally with Eibar until he leaves at the end of the season. It was important that he was able to continue with us this season. That was our priority.”
Garagarza went on to say that there was also interest from Barcelona and that all parties came to a mutual agreement in order to keep the strong relations between the two clubs. Capa was excited about the Barcelona interest, but he never pressured the team to sell him. The Eibar director has the utmost respect for the player.
“Barcelona called in the winter market and was interested in Capa. The player was excited about the interest but never pressed to leave Eibar. The deal with Athletic was a decision by both parties, to protect and respect our current relations. We think that it was good to not lose Capa for free. He still has the same humility as when he signed from Danok Bat seven years ago. He is one of the boys that surprised me the most, going from the lower levels all the way to the Primera. He is a 10. The deal with Athletic is very good.”
Ander Capa will join Athletic on 1 July, 2018 after the current season comes to a close. Athletic ultimately paid the €3 million release clause to sign the 25-year-old who will sign a four year contract when he arrives next summer. A €50 million release clause will also be placed in his deal, which is one of the highest of anyone currently playing for the Lions. Capa’s arrival will give Kuko Ziganda even more depth and quality on the right side of the field and could lead to some interesting battles for playing time and starting roles within the team.