Friday, August 19, 2022

Barcelona Showing Interest In This La Liga Centre-Back: What Will He Add To Xavi’s Team?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, Sport revealed that Barcelona are showing interest in Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez. It has been claimed that the Catalan giants are eyeing a move for the Spanish defender when he becomes a free agent at the end of next season.

Martinez’s Solid Form At The San Mames Stadium Last Season

Martinez is an experienced defender who continued to put in a run of dominant displays at the centre of Bilbao’s backline in the previous campaign. The 31-year-old made 33 appearances for the Spanish club last season, scoring three goals across all fronts.

The Spaniard was a rock at the back after he averaged 1.0 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 5.1 clearances per 90 minutes in La Liga. He even distributed the ball relatively well as he completed 79.2% of his attempted passes in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).

What Will Martinez Add To Barcelona Boss Xavi’s Team?

Martinez can time his challenges well to secure the ball back for his team on the defensive end of the pitch. He is often quick to spot the danger and doesn’t mind clearing his lines when the opposition are on the front foot.

Barcelona (Xavi)
Barcelona’s Spanish coach Xavi reacts from the sidelines during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final, first-leg football match Eintracht Frankfurt v FC Barcelona in Frankfurt, western Germany on April 7, 2022. (Photo by DANIEL ROLAND/AFP via Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

The Spanish talent can even chip in by netting some important goals for his team. He is a tidy passer of the ball as well which makes him a decent fit for Xavi’s brand of football at the Nou Camp.

Martinez will no doubt add more bite and steel to Barcelona‘s defence. He could even serve as a suitable replacement for Gerard Pique, who is way past his prime, at the Catalan club.

The Spanish defensive ace is good enough to increase competition for places within Xavi‘s match-day squad. His current contract at Bilbao will expire next summer, so Barcelona have got a good chance of landing him for free if they can make enough room in their wage bill by next year. At 31, Martinez would believe that he might still have something to offer at the highest level.

With all things considered, Barca should think about moving in for the Spaniard as he could help them compete for some major trophies over the next couple of years.

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