Monday, February 6, 2023

Barcelona Could Drop Their Interest In This La Liga Defender: Is Xavi Making The Right Call?

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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, Mundo Deportivo stated that Barcelona could drop their interest in Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez. It has been mentioned that the Catalan club might cool their interest in the Spanish centre-back if Marcos Alonso decides to pen a new deal at the Nou Camp.

Martinez’s Impressive Form At The San Mames Stadium This Season

Martinez is having a solid campaign with Bilbao as he has been responsible for producing a series of dominant displays on the defensive third of the field. The 31-year-old has made ten appearances for the Spanish club this season across all competitions.

The experienced defender has been a rock at the back for Bilbao based on his average of 0.9 tackles, 1.6 interceptions and 3.2 clearances per 90 minutes in La Liga. He has even been accurate when distributing possession from inside his half after making 85.7% of his attempted passes in the Spanish first division (stats via whoscored).

His current contract at the San Mames Stadium is set to expire at the end of this campaign. Thus, Barca has got a good chance of recruiting him on a free transfer next summer if they choose to do so.

Nou Camp
Nou Camp

Is Barcelona Boss Xavi Making The Right Call With Regards To Martinez?

Martinez can get stuck in with some solid tackles to make life tough for the opposition attackers. He is quick to spot the danger and can make a few timely interceptions for his side on the defensive third of the pitch. The Spanish talent doesn’t shy away from clearing the danger when needed and is proficient at playing his way out from the back. He is primarily a central defender but can also fill in as a left-back if his manager tells him to do so.

Hence, Martinez would have been a good acquisition for the Catalan outfit if they decided to follow up on their interest by offering him a chance to impress at the Nou Camp when his Athletic Bilbao contract runs out next summer.

The Spanish talent has what it takes to be a success story at the Catalan club. However, Xavi would not have any room in his squad for him if he decides to keep Marcos Alonso beyond the end of this campaign. Thus, Barca are making the right call by opting against signing Martinez. At 31, he is a player on the decline and would have only been a good, short-term signing for them this year.

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