Iñigo Martínez confirms Athletic Club exit ahead of Barcelona transfer

Iñigo Martínez confirms Athletic Club exit ahead of Barcelona transfer

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The centre-back will compete with Araujo, Christensen, Kounde and Garcia next season

Iñigo Martínez has announced that he is leaving Athletic Club, as expected. In an official video, the centre-back thanked the club and the fans, but he did not advance his move to Barcelona.

"The time has come to leave Athletic to take on new sporting challenges. It's not easy to leave this club, nor my homeland, but it was the right time," said the Spain centre-back.

Barça reached an agreement with the player months ago for the next two seasons and he will arrive as a free agent. The announcement of the signing could come in days.

Martínez was close to signing for Barça last summer but Athletic did not agree to negotiate a low transfer fee despite the fact that he only had one year left on his contract. Contacts with the player remained open and the deal was closed when Gerard Piqué announced his retirement from football. It is a request from the coaching staff, who incorporate a left-footed player to the centre-back pool.

"I've given my all for this shirt and for these fans. I want to thank the coaching staff, the club's employees, my teammates and the fans," added Martínez, who has left a very good impression at Athletic, where he arrived from Real Sociedad.

The Basque club also wanted to say goodbye. They did so in a statement, saying "the centre-back will embark on a new professional path after rejecting the club's offer. We thank Iñigo Martínez for his commitment and dedication to defending our badge."

Martínez will join Christensen, Araújo, Koundé and Eric Garcia in the centre-back rotation. The position is perfectly covered and will mean that Marcos Alonso will already spend next season as a left-back alongside Balde due to the departure of Jordi Alba.

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