Athletic in Orbaiz admission
By Francisco Acedo & Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Athletic Bilbao have hinted Liverpool target Pablo Orbaiz is for sale at the right price.Athletic Bilbao insist they have received no official contact from Liverpool regarding midfielder Pablo Orbaiz, but have hinted the player is for sale at the right price.
Orbaiz, a full Spanish international, is a midfielder who can operate both in the middle and on the right and has really caught the eye for the Basque outfit over the past couple of seasons.
A dead ball specialist, he joined Athletic from Osasuna in the summer of 2000 and had gained full international recognition by August 2002.
Last term he was a virtual ever-present for Athletic making 35 appearances in La Liga and netting three goals.
Benitez is known to be looking for a right-sided midfielder and it is understood he is plotting a move for Orbaiz when the transfer window re-opens in January.
Bilbao insist they are not looking to sell the 26-year-old, but admit, just like Asier del Horno, that he has his price.
His buy-out clause stands at some é¼24 million (£16 million), but an offer in the region of é¼15 million (£10 million) would almost certainly persuade Athletic to do business.
"We have only heard the rumours," stated Athletic president Fernando Lamikiz. "But the situation is very clear.
"Just as was the case for Del Horno, the player is not for sale, but if a club is prepared to pay what we consider his market price we will be obliged to study their offer.
"The key to any transfer is the size of the fee because our manager would need a good player to replace him."
Orbaiz himself admitted he was flattered to be linked with a move to Anfield, but insisted he would not take the speculation seriously until Liverpool's interest was confirmed.
"Liverpool is a great club and it would be a dream, but right now I want to deal in reality," he declared.
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