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Real Madrid target Kepa urged to stay at Athletic Bilbao by president

Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urrutia hopes goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will remain at the club beyond next summer despite reported interest from La Liga rivals Real Madrid.

Kepa, 23, is yet to sign a new contract with Athletic with his current deal ending in June 2018.

Madrid are among the clubs keen to acquire the Spain international and, according to Marca, are prepared to pay his €20 million release clause to land the player in January.

Kepa Arrizabalaga could become the most expensive goalkeeper in history.
Real Madrid are reportedly interested in Kepa Arrizabalaga.

"We are going to try to exhaust all options so that the player remains with us," Urrutia told Movistar.

"We don't know what the outcome will be, but a definite decision will be made. We continue to work so that the player puts his trust in us."

Asked if Kepa had been given a deadline by Bilbao to accept a new contract, Urrutia said: "There's no specific date.

"We've had negotiations with other players and we never gave a specific date and some were favourable and others weren't. We are not looking at dates, we just want to use all of our energy so that the outcome is a positive one for us."

A youth product of Athletic, Kepa made his La Liga debut in September 2016 and has made 13 league starts for the Spanish side this season.

Kepa recovered from a minor ankle injury and started against Madrid in Saturday's goalless draw in Bilbao, coming up with four saves to frustrate the defending La Liga champions.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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