Manchester City are set to face stiff competition from Barcelona in their bid to sign Spanish international Javi Martinez, the Daily Mail reports.
Martinez, 23, has reportedly garnered strong interest from the European Champions after another impressive season at Athletic Bilbao. This could spark a bidding war between the Catalan giants and English table-toppers Manchester City, who have been scouting Martinez this season.
Martinez captained Spain’s Under-21 side to the European Championship title last summer. He was also part of Spain’s 2010 World-Cup winning squad, although his only appearance was as a substitute in the group stages against Chile.
His club record is impressive, he made his debut for Bilbao as an 18 year-old back in 2006, and has since gone on to rack up almost 200 appearances for Los Leones. Last season, Martinez played in 46 games, scoring nine goals.
At 6’3, the 23 year-old is a commanding figure in the middle of the park, and it’s this presence that has often seen him playing as a centre-back, a position current manager Marcelo Bielsa has played him regularly this season.
Martinez’s engine, his versatility, as well as his ability to chip in with a few goals make him an attractive proposition for any manager. Whilst City are considering a £25 million bid, it is believed Bilbao want closer to £34 millon.
Mancini’s side struggled this year in the absence of Yaya Toure. With David Pizarro returning to Roma at the end of the season, Mancini may look to bring in a top quality midfielder to add to his star-studded ranks. Martinez fits the bill perfectly.
Would Martinez choose Manchester over Barcelona? That remains to be seen, although given the choice, I believe he would stay in Spain.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience