The Athletic Club of Bilbao,So cautious in recent years to go to the market (a signing, Raúl García, in three years) has internalized the message of the new times and has started a very long sprint that has concluded, at the moment, with the signing of Íñigo Martínez, central the Real Sociedad, after an agreement reached in the early hours of Monday to Tuesday, before what the own Basque soccer player of the Guipuzcoan club considered an irresistible offer.
Athletic paid on Tuesday the clause of 32 million, end that confirmed to Real Sociedad and signed an agreement with Íñigo Martínez, 26 years, for five seasons at the rate of five million net annual per year, which would make him the best player paid from the workforce, or at least at the level of Kepa and Williams, recently renewed, with variable amounts over time.
Athletic thus gives a leap forward that goes beyond the own sport planning (has signed the Romanian Ganea, raised in Bizkaia, and the side of Eibar, Capa, for June, which could also join the armourer Dani García) and enters into an economic territory of high tokens, long-term contracts that install him in the upper class of the League regarding the payment of salary emoluments. Knowing that for Athletic everything is more expensive, due to the voluntary narrowness of its market, the Ibaigane club has decided to take out its financial muscle and put it at the service of a sports planning in a world market that has taken a spectacular turn.
In the budget for the current season, the projected cost of the professional staff amounts to 68.8 million euros, which is equivalent to 68% of the entity’s expenditure and almost coincides with the 64.3 million foreseen by the income from rights of TV. As announced by the LFP in September 2017, the Athletic salary limit was the seventh in the League, after Barcelona, Madrid, Atlético, Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal.
However, Athletic was already raising the level of their salaries. Laporte himself, now in the City, already collected in Athletic a chip of 4.5 million net, the same or a little less than now charged Williams, Kepa or Íñigo Martínez, amounts and duration of contracts that are not in the clubs that precede him in the table of salary caps. Asensio,
Íñigo Martínez has not hesitated a moment. The good relations of his uncle and mentor with Athletic, and the company that advises IDUB, have facilitated a decision that did not admit many doubts for the player who already rejected in 2016 when he renewed by the Real include an anti-Athletic clause ( like the one that Oyarzabal accepted after saying no to the Bilbao team in summer). “I want to be free to decide on my future and be tied to a clause of high rescission,” he said when he downgraded that clause to the 32 million euros now paid by Athletic, half of those admitted by Laporte of Manchester City.
Athletic had been criticized by some sectors of the fans for not investing in human resources the income received by the signings of Javi Martínez or Ander Herrera, in addition to the departure of players such as Fernando Llorente or Amorebieta, who relieved the coffers of the club for their pay.
But the concern for Athletic was to check that unlike other times (not far) players said no to their offers. Illarramendi, first, Oyarzabal, then gave Athletic pumpkins, not in vain the Real Sociedad and almost equals budget to Bilbao club. It only remained to captivate the soccer player with irrechazables quantities like those offered to Íñigo Martínez, that the Real one was not arranged to even compare by aint.
Athletic has raised the bar on its professional costs. Not only has he established an upper class with Kepa, Williams and Íñigo Martínez (when his official signing is materialized), but has also launched a frantic campaign of renewals and contract extensions that have affected a large part of the workforce and still await heavyweights whose contract expires the term of the next season.
Raul Garcia, Muniain, De Marcos, Iturraspe, Balenziaga (Aduriz has a banking card to decide on his future) are some of those who conclude next season and have the references of the new rojiblanco present. The financial muscle of Athletic will be put back to test after the leap forward of a frantic winter in a club usually silent.