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Athletic Bilbao: Berchiche the big arrival as Kepa exited for Chelsea

Athletic Bilbao: Berchiche the big arrival as Kepa exited for Chelsea

With the transfer window edging towards its closure in Spain, we have been busy assessing each club’s business, starting with Athletic Bilbao.

Eduardo Berizzo was arguably the Basque club’s biggest arrivals and the former Sevilla man is determined to show La Liga that he still has unfinished business after his stint with the Andalusian side and formerly, Celta Vigo.

Loanees return to San Mames

Alex Remiro (pictured) was hugely anticipated to return to the club after impressing for Huesca and guiding them to promotion last season. In total, the youngster made 41 appearances in La Liga 123 and with the exit of Kepa – provide Berizzo with a perfect option.

Unai Simon has also returned to the club after a spell with the B team on loan, featuring Segunda Division B, whilst Urtzi Irionda (Granada) and Unai Lopez (Rayo Vallecano) have both returned too.

The arrival of Berchiche

Yuri Berchiche left Basque country in 2007 as a young player for English club Tottenham Hotspur, but various stints with Cheltenham Town, Real Valladolid and Real Union saw him return to Real Sociedad.

He impressed and was signed by Paris Saint Germain in 2017, making 22 appearances for the French side last term.

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His arrival at Athletic was much anticipated and for €24m – Berizzo looks to have got himself a real asset.

Dani Garcia has also arrived, coming from Eibar, whilst Berizzo has opted to strengthen his full-back area, bringing in Ander Capa, who has been in consistent form over the years for Eibar and Cristian Ganea has also arrived from FC Viitorul.

Who has left?

The biggest player to leave the club is Kepa, having been subject to interest from Chelsea after Real Madrid made a move for Thibaut Courtois, whose departure from Stamford Bridge left a void.

Kepa was indeed – quickly signed in a €80m move and has already begun to show to the form which gained him such a reputation in La Liga.

Joining him out the door is Enric Saborit (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Urtzi Irionda (Saint Gilliose), Xabier Etxeita (Huesca), Mikel Vesga (Leganes) and Kike Sola has also retired.

Have they missed anyone?

It could be argued that Berizzo does need a striker, despite the goal-scoring exploits of veteran Aritz Aduriz – but to rely on him over the course of a full season is a big ask.

The likes of Inaki Williams and more so, Iker Muniain – need to maintain their good form and provide Berizzo with consistency as the Basque club’s hopes of achieving European qualification continue to be at the forefront of their plans.