An unsuccessful return for Ibai Gómez
IBai Gómez returned to Athletic in 2019 with a different status than when he left the club years ago. His good work at Alavés made him a really interesting footballer for the team then led by Gaizka Garitano. However, since then he has been relegated to a secondary role, with few minutes on the pitch and many from the bench. The announcement of his return generated excitement among the fans, but this was fading little by little with the passage of time.
In the second half of 18/19 he played 15 games with a total of 667 minutes. 19/20 was somewhat better, with 20 games (869 minutes), while 20/21 was the one in which he participated the least, acting only in 13 games (419 minutes). Four assists and one goal have been his figures throughout these courses. The truth is that he has never had the confidence of the coaches to add a good number of games in a row. Excluding his first months in the team and the final stretch of last year with Marcelino, the Santutxu player has not played more than three league matches in a row in any of the two and a half seasons that he has been with the Bilbao team.
Marcelino has informed him that it is not in his plans, although he gave him enough minutes in recent days. During that stretch, he alternated interesting performances with other somewhat more discreet ones. In the winter of 2020 he had the opportunity to go to Espanyol, where Abelardo promised him the minutes he did not enjoy in Bilbao. Now a different scenario is presented, with a market more restricted by the pandemic and less active than in previous years.
An opportunity for Nico Williams
The place that would be free with the departure of Ibai could be occupied by Nico Williams. The puppy has just had a great year at the subsidiary and he already knows what it’s like to debut with the first team. At 18 he has shown that Second B is a bit too small for him and that he is ready to take another leap. He didn’t play a large number of minutes in his senior appearances, but he showed personality and cheek when it came to taking on opposing defenders. The preseason is presented as an opportunity to convince Marcelino to get a hole in his plans.