Barcelona, Manchester City and several other top clubs are interested in a summer move for Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez.
According to The Sun, Real Sociedad superstar Inigo Martinez is attracting interest from the best of European clubs again, with the start of the summer transfer window. The likes of Barcelona, Manchester City, Juventus and more are interested in activating the player’s release clause, which stands at €30 million.
Inigo Martinez has been on the radar of top clubs for several seasons now. The player has emanated from the Real Sociedad youth setup to becoming one of the most highly-rated defenders in La Liga. The 26-year-old has even managed to break through into the senior La Roja setup.
223 senior appearances for the club and the player’s name has become synonymous with Sociedad, who are slowly regaining their place among the top clubs in Spain – they finished sixth last season to qualify for the UEFA Europa League.
Pep Guardiola has been infatuated with Inigo Martinez from his time at Barcelona. The player was even linked to a move to Bayern and Manchester City as well in Guardiola’s first season in-charge at Etihad. And with the second season looming, the manager seems to be back in for the 26-year-old.
Guardiola did sign John Stones in a big-money move last season. But, City still have problems at the back, which now seems to be stemming from a lack of partner for the Englishman. Vincent Kompany is quality but has been mired with several bouts of injury issues of late.
BREAKING: Sporting Club have confirmed the signing of Jeremy Mathieu from Barcelona pic.twitter.com/7KEDgBrsHu
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 7, 2017
Barcelona on the other hand, have seen Samuel Umtiti grow in his maiden season at Nou Camp. But, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and the newly-signed Marlon Santos – the player was on loan at Barcelona, who have taken up the option to sign him on a permanent basis – are potentially the only options at Ernesto Valverde’s disposal.
Javier Mascherano is set to stay at Barcelona, as per recent reports. But, Jeremy Mathieu has already left and Marlon Santos is also seen more as a backup. Hence, a cultured defender like Inigo could do wonders for the club, who have been lacking defensive stability in recent campaigns.
Inigo, too, could really do with a change of club, which would see the 26-year-old finally take a step up towards being recognised as one of the best defenders in Europe. Also, a move to the big leagues – Barcelona, Manchester City or otherwise – could just catapult him into a starting role for Spain in the upcoming World Cup.
However, with the World Cup looming large, the player is unlikely to sacrifice regular game time in order to secure a move to one of the top clubs, which could tip the weights in Manchester City’s favour.
The Citizens were eyeing Virgil Van Dijk, but, the Dutch superstar seems set to stay at Southampton and will only leave for Liverpool, according to the reports. Hence, Guardiola could really do with a defender of Inigo’s calibre. The release clause is also fair considering the experience Inigo has under his belt.
City are one of the clubs that could pay the €30m release clause of Real Sociedad centre-back Iñigo Martínez (26) this summer. [Marca] pic.twitter.com/4u5QmBOXDG
— City Watch (@City_Watch) July 8, 2017
Also, given the current inflated nature of the market, €30 million for a 26-year-old Spanish international with years of experience under his belt could turn out to be a bargain, if the player manages to turn the City defence into a wall.
For now, though, any of the suitors stand with a chance of securing the player’s services and City must move quickly if they are to beat others in the pursuit of Inigo Martinez, who feels like he is due a move to one of the bigger clubs.