We have enough centre-backs already. He’s 32 years of age. I get it. However, signing Inigo Martinez on a free transfer still makes a lot of sense for Barcelona.
For starters, here we have a ball-playing left-sided centre-back of which there aren’t that many at his level, and whose overall 83.6 pass completion rate, per WhoScored, isn’t that bad, even if Ronald Araujo (88.2), Jules Kounde (87.7), Andreas Christensen (93.2) and Marcos Alonso (91) all have better averages in that department.
Let’s be clear. Martinez is ostensibly being signed as cover, and with there being next to no drop off in terms of passing range, his ability both on the ground and in the air, the fact he’s a bit ‘old school’ when it comes to defending... it’s hard to make a case not to sign him.
There’s no transfer to speak of, he’ll not drain the coffers with astronomical wages and he already has a successful 12-year career in the Spanish top flight - that kind of experience will prove invaluable and hold the blaugranes in good stead over the next couple of seasons.
Indeed, how many times have we watched Barca play against him and marvelled at just what an accomplished centre-back he is, as well as being a real warrior.
He isn’t frightened to employ the darker arts when required and, with the possible exception of Araujo, we don’t really have a defender that wears his heart on his sleeve and is willing to put absolutely everything on the line in the pursuit of three points.
Perhaps, if things had been different at the club in terms of finances, Martinez wouldn’t be signed, but the plain fact is we still need cover, and would arguably have bought someone to provide just that, whatever financial situation we were in.
How many times this season for example have you held your head in your hands when Alonso’s name has been on the team sheet?
If someone gets injured, or if Xavi just wants to give someone a rest, it’s the former Chelsea man he invariably turns to.
Martinez shakes things up a bit and will force his contemporaries to up their game if they want a place in the side ahead of him.
I accept that it may not be the most earth-shattering signing that the club have ever made, but there are a lot more positives than negatives to this signing in my opinion.