After missing out on Sevilla center-back Jules Koundé, Barcelona have pivoted quickly and are in talks with Athletic Bilbao for 31-year-old defender Iñigo Martínez, according to multiple reports in Spain.
Basque journalist Jose Manuel Monje reported on Friday that Barça sporting director Mateu Alemany has been in contact with Athletic president Jon Uriarte to begin negotiations, and Diario Sport say the Blaugrana have already agreed personal terms on a four-year deal with the player.
Iñigo has one year left on his contract and would be sold for a lower transfer fee than his reported €80 million release clause, and the player has told Bilbao that this is his last chance to earn a big contract and play for a top team in Europe and would like the club to facilitate his exit. Athletic reportedly want €60 million, but the player’s request could bring the price down considerably.
Martínez began his career at Real Sociedad and joined Athletic four years ago, and has been one of the most underrated and consistent defenders in Spanish football for almost a decade now. He is left-footed and has the skillset to fit well within Xavi Hernández’s system, and this could be a steal if Barça are able to negotiate a discount with Athletic.
Would you like to see Iñigo Martínez as a Blaugrana, Barça fans?