Madrid, June 26 (IANS) Athletic Club Bilbao Tuesday confirmed Ismael Lopez as their first signing of the summer.
Ismael, who is a product of the Basque Club's youth system, left the club two seasons ago to join Zaragoza's B team, before moving to second division B side, Lugo. He now returns on a free transfer to the club after helping Lugo promotion to the second division, reported Xinhua.
He has signed a two-year-contract and has a buyout clause of 30 million euros. A left sided midfielder, Ismael, will help to replace midfielder Igor Gabilondo, whose contract with Athletic expired at the end of last season.
Last season saw Athletic reach the final of both the Europa League and the Kings Cup, but tiredness saw them lose both matches (against Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona.) This season the club coached by Marcelo Bielsa is aiming to bring more depth into its squad to ensure that the players are not so exhausted by the end of the campaign.
Athletic are thought to be very close to agreeing a deal to bring Valencia striker Aritz Aduriz back for a third spell at the club. Aduriz will provide much needed support for Spain international forward Fernando Llorente and help offer more variety in attack.
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