A low release clause, and everyone seems to be interested. Unai Lopez of Athletic Bilbao still hasn’t played a single match for the senior side, but he’s been chased by half the teams in the Premier League, most notably Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea.
According to the Liverpool Echo, the 17-year old, who scored 9 goals in 22 games for Bilbao’s youth team last season, has a €1 million buy-out clause in his contract, but it doesn’t mean he’s so keen on leaving at the moment. Lopez has already been approached by Barcelona last season, but preferred staying in Bilbao, citing his reluctance to be away from his family at the moment.
So why would the Premier League be any different? There’s no harm in trying, but there are also clubs in Italy trying to sign the player, making the competition for the talented attacking midfielder quite difficult to shine through.
Lopez has appeared a few times for the Spanish U-18 side, but has gained most of his notoriety through the NextGen series Athletic Bilbao participated in last season, playing in the same group as Arsenal, Marseille and Olympiacos.
Bilbao actually scored the most goals in the group (12), thanks to their 4-0 win over Olympiacos and 5-0 over Marseille, a match in which Lopez scored.
However, it was his performance in the matches against Arsenal (a 0-0 draw and a 4-2 gunners win) that drew most of the attention to the Basque wonderkind, who at the moment, seems to be going down the route most Bilbao prodigies follow: staying with the club they grew up in, knowing that it’s probably the best place to get some playing time during the early years of his career.