Leeds United have reportedly been linked with an effort to sign free agent fullback Jon Aurtenetxe after the Spaniard was not retained by Scottish Premier League team Dundee. The left-back reportedly is set for a reunion with new Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa, who he played under at Athletic Bilbao.
Aurtenetxe was a key member of the Athletic Bilbao team that made a run to both the Copa del Rey final and UEFA League final in 2012. He made 31 appearances for Athletic in La Liga and 14 more in the Europa League during the 2011-12 season. He played another season for Athletic, making 27 appearances in the 2012-13 season.
However, once Bielsa left the club, so did Aurtenetxe, as he was sent on loan to RC Celta Vigo for the 2013-14 season, appearing 20 times, and then made a few appearances for Athletic in the 2014-15 season before once again going out on loan again, this time to Segunda division team CD Tenerife. After the end of that loan spell, he moved to CD Mirandés, another Segunda Division club on a free transfer for the 2016-17 season.
After appearing twice for SD Amorebieta, a third division Spanish team, he moved to Scotland to play for Dundee FC.
He made 16 appearances for Dundee last season before not being retained by Dundee at the end of the season. The move to not retain him was met with some surprise, as he was one of the better attacking fullbacks in the SPFL.
He played his best football under Bielsa at Athletic, and at only 26 years-old, he’s by no means washed up. He scored five of his total seven goals in his senior career during the two years playing for Bielsa, and the experienced manager seemed to get the best out of him. Could the magic be rekindled at Leeds? Left back was a problem area for Leeds last season, and while young Tom Pearce, who recently signed a new contract, had some impressive performances at the end of the season, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to bring someone more experienced in. Aurtenetxe has the added bonus of having played for Bielsa before and is also a free agent, all of which point towards this potential transfer making total sense, even if the link to him is rather flimsy.