SAINTS announce they will host historic La Liga side Athletic Club Bilbao in a pre-season friendly ahead of the commencement of the Premier League campaign.

The Spanish outfit will travel to St Mary’s on Saturday August 7 (3pm), with Ralph Hasenhuttl looking to finalise preparations before the trip to Goodison Park the following week.

Fans will be able to get a taste of what could be to come for the season ahead, with the club releasing ticket details later this week.

Athletic are the current Spanish Super Cup holders and reached the final of the prestigious Copa Del Rey, before defeat to Barcelona, marking a 90th consecutive season in the Spanish top-flight.

The two sides met in a 2016 friendly where Shane Long’s solitary goal decided proceedings, although the history between the clubs dates much further back than that.

British shipyard workers – including many from Southampton – emigrated to work in the key industrial port of Bilbao, bringing with them football and founding Bilbao FC, an early form of the current club.

Athletic are credited with wearing red and white stripes after a club representative sourced new kit from England and brought back with him 50 Saints shirts, shared amongst Athletic and Atletico Madrid.

Supporters may recognise a handful of Athletic’s players, with goalkeeper Unai Simon a penalty shootout hero for European Championship semi-finalists Spain, while attacker Inaki Williams was in the past linked with a move to the likes of Liverpool, but remained loyal to the Basque institution.