Kepa Arrizabalaga has left the ball in Athletic Club's court by putting in a pay rise request as his agent hammers out a new deal for him. Following months of negociations, the young goalkeeper, who is being tracked by Real Madrid, Arsenal and Napoli among others, is asking for his salary to be hiked to 2.2 million euros per season as part of a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2022, Radio Bilbao reports today.
Kepa, a keeper with a bright future
Kepa is keen to stay in Bilbao, where he feels at home and he identifies with Athletic - in spite of the allure of Italian football or playing in the Premier League. The Ondarroa-born keeper will be able to leave Athletic as a free agent on 30 June 2018, which has put a number of Europe's top clubs on high alert. The Bilbaínos however are confident he will stay once he signs a new, four year contract extension
International at Under-21 level
Central to the debate over the new contract which Athletic have offered Kepa is the buy-out clause, which the club have planed to set at 70 million euros. Agreeing on a retention fee has been one of the thorny issues in talks between the club and Kepa's agent - Athletic had hoped to have the matter settled after the recent European Under-21 Championship in Poland.
Idolized at San Mamés
Athletic are fully aware that Kepa's value is increasing with every game he plays. His performances in LaLiga have only confirmed that he is in line to be the team's undisputed first choice for years to come and as David de Gea's deputy in the national team. He is worshipped at San Mamés and now the club have to find the finances to makes sure he stays. If a new deal is reached, Kepa will become onme of the best-paid players in the squad, taking home a similar pay packet to top earners: Laporte, Muniain, Raúl García and Aduriz.