There has been a new twist in the Kepa Arrizabalaga saga. While the young goalkeeper was on international duty with Spain, his agent has been busy thrashing out the terms of a proposed new contract with Athletic Club. Regional broadcaster Euskal Telebista reported last night that the Basque club is willing to accept all of the player's contractual demands before January, when Kepa will be able to start negotiating with other clubs as his contract with Athletic winds down.
Kepa to have buy-out clause halved
Kepa has no intention of moving to another club. His plan is to continue at San Mamés. ETB add that Athletic are willing to raise his salary to 2.2 million euros (this was already known) but also considerably reduce the buy-out clause in his proposed new contract from 80 million euros to a figure between 40 and 50 million in line with his pay packet. The new, reduced buy-out will seem extremely economical for an international goalkeeper with a promising future but it will allow Athletic to gain time or, if the player does leave, at least they will bring in some cash rather than see him go on a free transfer in July. The plan is to gradually increase Kepa's salary and buy-out over time like they did with Aymeric Laporte.
Athletic took too long to address Kepa's contract renewal
Kepa Arrizabalaga knows that Real Madrid and Juventus have an interest in him - and Barça are keeping a close eye on his negotiacions with Athletic, but his priority is to ensure he stays in Bilbao. His contract is up in June 2018 and his buy-out clause is 30 million. When Athletic have reviewed the contract of other players, such as Mikel Vesga, the buy-out has usually been left untouched. If ETB's claims are confirmed and Athletic back down, it will underline how badly they got it wrong when they should have renewed Kepa's contract as soon as he returned from his last loan spell with Valladolid in 2016. Instead, they left the matter on the back burner until it was too late. They have been toing and froing on the issue for over a year now...