Athletic Bilbao managed to avoid relegation last season and their 12th placed finish is perhaps a little deceptive. The former Spanish national team coach Javier Clemente is credited with saving the club from it’s first ever relegation from the top flight after taking control midway through the season. However, Clemente was sacked in the summer after falling out with club President Fernando Lamikiz following an outburst over the clubs activities in the transfer market.
New coach Felix Sarriugarte will certainly have his work cut out this coming season. Julen Guerrero has finally retired and Carlos Gurpegui has been banned for two years whilst the off field instability will have done the club little good. A source of great pride, the clubs restrictive policy of Basque recruitment means that it often ends up paying more for players than it ought to as clubs effectively hold Athletic to ransom. As a result the club has seen little inbound transfer activity this summer and paying 6 million euros for Javi Martinez of Osasuna reserves proves the point.
The club look to be heading for a mid table position again this season with a team that is founded upon a strong defense and the highly talented Yeste acting as provider for Aduriz and Urzaiz in attack.
Javier Clemente (coach), Tarantino y Felipe (Numancia) , Karanka, (Colorado), Guerrero (retirado) Lacruz (Espanyol), Azkorra (Albacete), Arriaga (Las Palmas), Ibon Gutiérrez (Castellón), Bordas (L'Hospitalet),Escalona (Logroñés CF
Félix Sarriugarte (coach) Javi Martínez (Osasuna) Gabilondo (R.Sociedad) Álex García (Racing B) Sarriegi (Alavés) Etxeberria (GK coach)
Current squad list :