The next 18 days will be some of the most important ones in the history of Athletic Bilbao.
In the midst of transfer requests and contract extension rejections from striker, Fernando Llorente and centre-back, Fernando Amorebieta, it is being reported that Athletic are also willing to listen to transfer offers for Spanish international, Javi Martinez, as well.
For the defensive midfielder, Athletic say Martinez can go if someone meets his €40 million release clause. In today’s economic climate that is unlikely. But if you are Athletic Bilbao such an offer would be impossible to turn down as it would essential cover all debts owed by the club.
The more likely scenario is that Athletic sell Fernando Llorente (€36 million release clause) to Italy and Fernando Amorebieta (€30 million release clause) to England, generating more than enough funds to pay off the clubs debt without the need to sell Martinez.
The question thought for Athletic boss Marcelo Bielsa is what does the sale of two of their best players mean for a club that impressed fans across Europe with their style of play in Bilbao’s run to UEFA Europa League final last season.? Will Athletic be able to compete for a top four position in the league this season or will they end up being a midtable side after the sale of Llorente and Amorebieta?