A move to take Antoine Griezmann to Athletic Bilbao is “impossible” according to Inaki Arechabaleta, the presidential candidate who has pledged to appoint Marcelo Bielsa if he wins the club’s upcoming elections.
Antoine Griezmann has been named in Athletic’s local rivals, Real Sociedad, meaning that the 2018 World Cup winner is often referred to as a club, which has committed itself to hiring only Basque players.
After returning to Atletico Madrid on a two-year loan contract from Barcelona last August, Griezmann struggled to find a place to start for the injured season.
He has played fewer times in all competitions (36) than other key players Angel Correa (49), Luis Suarez (45), and Matheus Cunha (37).
The 31-year-old’s frustrated campaign in the Spanish capital has sparked speculation that he could be targeted at Athletic, especially as former manager Bielsa tried to sign the player when he started playing for the club between 2011 and 2013.
But Arechabaleta says significant French star salaries make the move impossible at the moment.
“Marcelo and I have talked about opportunities to sign Athletic players, so we will look at the opportunities we have to strengthen our team,” he told the Spanish podcast El Partidazo de Cope.
Regarding Griezmann’s trip, he said: “He can be [targeted] because it is part of the group’s philosophy, but I think it is impossible.
“The problem is not whether Griezmann fits into our philosophy. Griezmann is currently not available for a salary and what you have to pay him.”
Meanwhile, Arechabaleta has revealed that he has been in contract with Bielsa’s management since his dismissal by Leeds United in late February, as he prepares for the June 24 election.
“Marcelo is a world-class artist, one of the world’s best and most influential people, joining the many products we have introduced these days,” he added.
“I had my first contact with him in March. The first thing he told me was that he is very fond of Basque Country and Athletic, but we should let him analyze the Spanish league and current Athletic.
“He’s the latest football genius.”