According to reports surfacing from Spain over the past day, Manchester City are allegedly in a race with some of Europe’s top clubs to sign Real Sociedad’s impressive centre-back Inigo Martinez.
Spanish outlet Marca claim that City, along with Juventus, AC Milan, Barcelona and rivals Liverpool, have all shown interest in the 26-year-old, with one unnamed team already undergoing talks with his agent.
Despite returning to pre-season training with the La Liga outfit earlier this week, it is understood that all interested parties are willing to meet his release clause of £26.5 million to tempt him into leaving.
What could the Spanish international bring to the Etihad?
Although Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s priorities this summer have firmly laid in recruiting wide defenders – as per The Sun – it’s not surprising to see rumours linking him with Inigo Martinez.
The 26-year-old has been playing for Real Sociedad for his entire career, rising up through the ‘B’ team before becoming a dominant figure in the first team since his debut all the way back in 2011.
Since then he has been a masterful figure at the heart of the Sociedad defence, imposing himself on the world’s best forwards and – unlike most – coming out with his pride intact.[interaction id=”596226a9f2d4938713c39e1c”]
Martinez is a physical style of player almost in the Carlos Puyol mould, not afraid to get stuck in when necessary and extraordinarily strong in the air – a trait that would lend him well to England.
His development as part of Real Sociedad’s academy side also means that he’s a confident player when in possession of the ball, happy to carry the ball out of the defensive third and drive further into the midfield; it almost doesn’t need saying that this is very much a Guardiola type of player.
For a centre-back, his passing is known to be incredibly accurate too, finding his man with good regularity and setting his side off up the pitch, and he is always a threat from attacking set-pieces.
17 goals across six La Liga seasons isn’t the worst return for a central defender and he’s built a reputation for his sweet right-foot after twice netting from the half-way line in his career to date.
Is a switch to the Premier League likely?
Marca claim that, despite Martinez agreeing a new contract with Real Sociedad back in April of last year, they opted against raising his release clause of £26.5 million and could now really regret that move.
There is no doubt that Manchester City have the financial capabilities to meet this price should they beat off the competition of Europe’s biggest clubs, and Martinez could be swayed by the lure of England.
Add to this the fact that Guardiola would have seen Martinez in action during his time as manager of Barcelona – and throw in their link as Spaniards – and a move seems even more feasible.