Javi Martinez has become the second Athletic Bilbao player to be linked with Manchester City in a matter of days, following speculation of a move for Fernando Llorente.
Martinez, 23, has today been the subject of rumours linking him with a £25m move to the new Premier League champions after starring in Athletic’s run to the Europa League final. Martinez is a defensive midfielder by trade but has also been playing at centre half at times this year, showing his great versatility and comfortability in multiple positions.
A string of clubs such as Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid have been linked with Martinez but it appears that City have leapfrogged them in the race to sign the holding midfielder, but reports are suggesting City see him as a central defender alongside Vincent Kompany, suggesting their bid to sign Thiago Silva has hit the buffers.
The question many City fans and Premier League fans alike will be asking is whether Martinez is worth the alleged £25m fee that City would be paying for the Spanish international?
I’ll start with the answer: Most definitely. I watch a lot of Spanish football and Martinez stands out every single time you watch Athletic. He’s physically imposing at 6ft 3in tall, but he can play football. He’s calm on the ball, he bosses the midfield when he plays there and marshals the defence when he’s at centre half. I can’t speak highly enough of a player who is a born leader and a fantastic footballer.
I’d be interested to see how he fits in at City though. I’d have him pegged as a holding midfielder, someone to sit in front of the back four and win the ball back in the final third to set the attacks going, but it seems City want him at Centre Back. I wouldn’t say there’s a huge hole at centre back for City – Vincent Kompany had a phenomenal season and was the proverbial man mountain at the back, whilst Joleon Lescott had a solid season alongside the Belgian.
Cover is a concern – Kolo Toure’s career seems to be slowly dwindling whilst Stefan Savic struggled heavily during his first year in the Premier League.
Martinez would be a fantastic signing for City if used correctly. I can see why they would want to play him at Centre Back, but from experience watching him, I prefer him in midfield.
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