In a recent report, Mundo Deportivo claimed that Barcelona are eyeing a move for Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez. It has been mentioned that the Catalan outfit are planning to move in for the Spanish centre-back if they can land him on the cheap during the January transfer window.
Martinez’s Season Of Mixed Emotions At The San Mames Stadium
Martinez is having an up-and-down season at Bilbao as he has missed a handful of games due to injury. However, the Spaniard has put in some solid displays at the centre of Ernesto Valverde’s defence.
The 31-year-old has been involved in three matches for the Basque outfit this season in La Liga. Martinez has given a good account of himself on the defensive third of the pitch based on his average of 1.0 tackles, 2.3 interceptions, 3.0 clearances, 1.3 shots and 0.7 key passes per game in La Liga. He has even been tidy when distributing the ball from the back, as evidenced by his pass completion rate of 83.6% in the top tier of Spanish football (stats via whoscored).
His current contract at Athletic Bilbao will expire at the end of this campaign. Hence, Barca have every reason to be optimistic about recruiting him on the cheap during the winter transfer period.
Is Martinez A Good Choice For Barcelona?
Martinez is a good tackler of the ball and can make a few timely interceptions for his side inside his half. He doesn’t mind putting his foot through the ball when needed and has got the vision to create some decent chances going forward. Martinez is primarily a centre-back but can also fill in as a left-back if his manager asks him to do so.
However, there are some concerns over his injury record. Still, the pros outweigh the cons of signing Martinez as he will bring more bite and steel to Xavi‘s defence. Thus, Barcelona would be wise to organise a cut-price move to secure the services of the Spanish defensive ace when the transfer window reopens at the start of next year.
At 31, Martinez might still have a couple of good seasons left in him. Therefore, he would be a good choice for Barca to consider in the short term as a player of the Spaniard’s experience would be a decent replacement for Gerard Pique, who has entered the last stage of his playing career at the Nou Camp.