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Athletic Bilbao boss calm over reported Real Madrid target Kepa

Kepa is reported to be a summer target for Real Madrid.

Athletic Bilbao coach Jose Angel Ziganda has said he is "optimistic" about the future of goalkeeper Kepa, a reported target for Real Madrid.

Marca reported that Madrid could sign the 22-year-old when he becomes a free agent next summer.

Kepa has been in talks with Athletic over a new deal since January, but negotiations have so far been unsuccessful.

But Ziganda told a news conference: "I have no reason to not be optimistic regarding Kepa's renewal.

"It's not that I want to fool myself but, as long as I can, but I prefer to think positively rather than negatively. I see him calm and very well."

Real reportedly targeted Kepa as a reinforcement for their Castilla reserve side two years ago.

The goalkeeper, who has represented Spain at youth level, was called up to the senior side in March but has yet to make his debut.

Asked about his contract talks with Athletic, he said last month: "It's an internal negotiation between the club and I'm not going to make it public. It's not as if my contract ends tomorrow, it's next year."

Juanjo Valencia, who trained Kepa during his time as Athletic's goalkeeping coach, told Marca radio: "Kepa is in a great form and has a very important value in the market.

"I'm certain a lot of teams are monitoring him. We will see what decision he takes.

"It's obvious that top teams can offer him more, but he also has to give value to continuity and staying at Athletic would allow him to develop even further.

"Kepa has a spectacular technical base, something he has worked on since he was very young. He is a complete player and a top competitor, too."

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

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