An inside look at Barca’s deal for Inigo Martinez

An inside look at Barca’s deal for Inigo Martinez

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The Catalans have reached a deal with the defender

Barça's sporting management, which until June 30 will still be led by Mateu Alemany, has been working for months on putting together the squad for next season. In this sense, weeks ago they closed the first reinforcement. It is Iñigo Martínez, who will arrive on a free transfer from Athletic.

Contact between the two sides began last summer, when the Blaugrana considered signing him as an alternative to Jules Kounde. Nothing was finalised at the time, but the foundations were laid for a future signing.

The Basque defender passed his medical a few weeks ago and his agent has already agreed everything with FC Barcelona. The centre-back will sign for two seasons and his salary will be very similar to the one he has now at the San Mamés club, around nine million euros. Xavi will have the defender he wanted, as he has always wanted to have a left-sided centre-back, a role that Marcos Alonso, a full-back, has played in many games.

He will lose some money because the Basque Country's tax system is very beneficial for the citizens who live there, but at 31 years of age, the defender has put his desire to wear the Blaugrana shirt first, something he came close to doing in 2017, when, as a Real Sociedad player, Ernesto Valverde asked for his signature, but it was ruled out when almost everything had been agreed. A few months later, in January 2018, when Laporte set off for Manchester City, it was Athletic who paid Real Sociedad the 32 million euro termination clause for Iñigo Martínez, who signed a contract for four and a half seasons.

That contract expires on June 30 and Athletic were willing to renew it, but the player was keen to join Barça to win titles in the final stretch of his career. His desire to wear the Barca shirt is so great that he has agreed to put a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave on loan if Barça cannot register him in La Liga. In any case, Barça have assured him that there will be no problems in registering him because they have been working for weeks on a plan to reduce costs and increase income that will allow them to register all the renewed players and the new additions.

The current season has not been the best for Iñigo Martínez at Athletic. The centre-back, who was left out of the World Cup in Qatar, is having a lot of problems with injuries. He is currently out with a muscle injury, while he spent the first two months of this year sidelined with a foot injury that is now recovered. He has made 18 appearances and scored one goal.

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