6 Athletic Bilbao Stars Who Could Cut in the Premier League

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMarch 9, 2012

6 Athletic Bilbao Stars Who Could Cut in the Premier League

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    Athletic Bilbao came to Old Trafford and stunned Europe by defeating Manchester United 3-2.

    World football aficionados weren't too surprised—they knew all about Marcelo Bielsa's little dynamos and how they emulate the classic Spanish "tiki-taka" playing style.

    While a few of the stars on show are already renowned and linked to moves to bigger clubs, some of them have gone by unnoticed—until now.

    Here are six players who could star in the English Premier League if given the chance.

    Enjoy the slideshow!

Iker Muniain

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    The world will now rave about Iker Muniain.

    Dubbed 'the Spanish Lionel Messi' at 16 years of age, Muniain is one of those rare players who can compete with the very best despite his slight stature.

    He showed the trickery and skill against Manchester United that will see him achieve a spot in the Spanish national team in the future.

    He'll be difficult to acquire over the next few years. Athletic Bilbao will cling onto him for dear life especially considering their Cantera policy.

    Look for the little wizard to move around 2014 for a high transfer fee.

Fernando Llorente

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    Fernando Llorente is the player Andy Carroll should be.

    At Old Trafford he showed he's got the technical skills to match his physical prowess—not that that's a surprise considering he's engulfed in the Spanish way of playing.

    He can shoot, head it, hold it up and pass it. Sounds easy but it's remarkable how many old-fashioned target strikers can't do the full quota.

    Llorente will be a target for most of the top six clubs in England this summer, but he will carry a huge price tag.

Javi Martinez

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    Unfortunately, Javi Martinez wasn't allowed to shine in full capacity last night.

    He was deployed as an emergency defender due to Fernando Amorbieta's suspension but performed admirably; despite his obvious talent being the ability to control a midfield.

    The Daily Mail recently linked the Spanish playmaker with a move to the Premier League for £33 million with Manchester City and Liverpool amongst those interested.

    He'd certainly fit in nicely, and would surely bring an element of tidiness to any midfield.

Fernando Amorebieta

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    Fernando Amorebieta is the only player on this list who didn't play and star against Manchester United.

    The central defender was suspended due to the red card mentioned on Javi Martinez's slide, but he'd still be a phenomenal acquisition despite this blotch on his copy book.

    He's a tough tackler, he's great in the air and he's confident passing the ball.

    He represents the calm central defender Rio Ferdinand is—something that is highly sought after by top clubs.

Ander Herrera

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    Ander Herrera played in the role that Javi Martinez would have wanted to play against Manchester United.

    He was neat and tidy in passing, and provided an element of penetration when Athletic Bilbao reached the edge of the home side's penalty area.

    If there is any problem with Ander's game it would be the consistency value as I've seen a few poor performances from him. He was a big money purchase for the Basque club in January last year, and the club will work with him to make him a star.

    He's an U-21 European Championships winner with Spain and partnered team mate Martinez in the finals last summer.

Andoni Iraola

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    Andoni Iraola may not be the flashy right-back some clubs look for but he does the fundamentals very well.

    He's energetic up and down the right flank and has great close range passing skills. He's not frightened to venture up the field but doesn't neglect his defensive duties either.

    He's unlucky not to have had a proper look in on the Spanish national side, but he has flourished later in his career and Spain are well stacked for the right-back slot.

    There are plenty of Premier League teams who could do with a new right sided defender, Iraola could be a decent acquisition.

Any More?

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    Last night were saw some more superb performances and it's impossible not to mention Markel Susaeta and Oscar De Marcos.

    But this article is about players who might flourish in the English Premier League and I'm not convinced these players would.

    There have been some concerns in recent years about how Barcelona youth products, who just miss out on the first team, would cope in a team who doesn't play the fluid football they've been brought up on.

    My guess is that both Susaeta and De Marcos might not look so good in a team who doesn't play "tiki-taka" football, but then that's an objective guess with no evidence to back it up.

    They might well shine, but I can't be convinced as yet.

    The six mentioned definitely would.