Remember when Diego Forlán said publicly he wanted to play for Athletic?
From 2010: "Cuando quise salir de (Manchester United in 2004) quería ir al Athletic de Bilbao."
It's no surprise to me that players of Basque descent like Forlán and Higuaín are documented Athletic-killers. Both have double-digit goals against them. They get up psychologically for these games because they know how much Athletic means to Euskal Herria.
I know he's old at 35 but he's still serviceable. He already has two goals in four games this year in Japan for Cerezo Osaka.
I think it's becoming clear Guillermo still needs more seasoning, and I don't think Valverde will bring up Williams until maybe later in the season.
Why not bring in a steady veteran, especially a proven World Cup Golden Ball winner like Forlán who WANTS to be in Bilbao? You can pair him with Aduriz, who is all alone in the box game after game.
Remember, VALVERDE was the coach in 2004 when the Forlán rumors originally started. He and Zubizarreta (then-Athletic's sporting director) even visited South America together to see the talent out there in the Basque diaspora. Txingurri has always liked Forlán.
And for those who wonder if Forlán or a guy like Higuaín is Basque enough, Forlán's mom is born and raised in Guipuzcoa and moved to South America when she was 15. Higuaín's grandparents are Basque, he speaks fluent Euskera and his family is heavily involved in the Basque community organizations in Argentina.
To me, I say yes. Hell, Athletic themselves published a poll where 56 percent voted that they would have approved of the Forlán signing. If I remember correctly, the reports were saying they couldn't agree on money, but he's very affordable now. Obviously, Napoli placing a €100M transfer tag on Higuaín makes him a impossible target now, but if Athletic loosened up the policy, they might be able to sign players of this quality to the cantera in their youth before they become superstars.
And besides, there are examples of this already having happened at Athletic. For the women's team, goalkeeper Maite Zabala is an American born and raised in Idaho who played at the University of California-Berkeley for college, but Athletic signed her years ago because she has Basque blood and family that still lives in Bizkaia.
But I do understand it's a slippery slope, and you risk losing what makes Athletic special if you start signing anyone with 0.00001% association with the Basque Country. On the other hand, it's a case-by-case basis, and I think it's a compromise between the team's desire to remain competitive with the big boys while keeping its proud tradition.