La Liga heavyweights Barcelona are reportedly on the brink of sealing the deal to sign 31-year-old Spanish international Inigo Martinez next year.
According to a report by Spanish publication SPORT, Inigo Martinez is closing in on joining Barcelona next year. The 31-year-old Spanish international is certain to move to Spotify Camp Nou in the summer transfer window. But the Blaugrana might attempt to secure his services in January following Gerard Pique’s retirement.
Inigo Martinez has been a dependable figure for Athletic Club since arriving from Real Sociedad nearly five years ago. The veteran defender is a pivotal figure for the Basque giants while establishing a foothold in the Spanish national team.
The 31-year-old has turned out 168 times for Athletic Club, chipping in with seven goals and seven assists. But the Lions are in a spot of bother over Martinez’s long-term future as he will enter the final six months of his contract in January. Such a situation has captured the attention of Barcelona.
Barcelona had keenly pursued Martinez in the summer transfer window, but Athletic Club did not wish to part ways with him. However, the interest in the Spanish international did not end with that disappointment. And Barcelona’s resolve to land the player strengthened in the wake of Gerard Pique’s regression.
The veteran defender has now announced that he will call time on his illustrious career this weekend. And the game against Almeria on Saturday will be Pique’s final outing for Barcelona. Pique’s decision will leave Xavi Hernandez with only four centre-backs at his disposal. The Catalan giants have thus had to scour the market for a central defender.
Inigo Martinez is a viable target for Barcelona, with the Blaugrana looking to sign him in 2023. But following Pique’s retirement, Barcelona might have to fast-track the move for the 31-year-old Spanish international. So while the Spaniard has a verbal agreement to join the Catalan outfit, a winter move might be on the cards.
But it is unclear if Athletic Club will sanction the player’s departure in the January transfer window. While the winter window will be the last chance for the Lions to recoup something for Martinez, they might not want to lose a pivotal figure midway through the season. It will be interesting to see if Barcelona can accelerate the deal for the 31-year-old Spanish international, who will move to Camp Nou in 2023.