FC Barcelona continue their work to improve their squad for the upcoming 2023/2024 season and are thus assessing multiple positions. One of the key areas where La Blaugrana hope to recruit further personnel is the defensive roster of the squad.
The options remain plenty, but the chosen one appears to be the one who resides within La Liga already and has been a target of La Blaugrana’s for some time now.
The 31-year-old central defender Inigo Martinez, currently contracted until the end of June 2023 to Athletic Bilbao, is heavily reported to be the one chosen by FC Barcelona to act as their primary defensive addition over the course of this season.
His quality and experience are both appreciated by the Catalan giants, with Xavi in particular being excited to work with a left-footed central defender as was his wish. Martinez is a player that Barcelona have continued to follow for quite some time.
From his days in Real Sociedad, when then-manager Ernesto Valverde wanted to bring Martinez to Barcelona but would fail to do so and then it would be Athletic Bilbao who would end up acquiring his services by paying the player’s €32 million release clause, to now his time in Bilbao, Blaugranes are continuously monitoring his progress and updates.
Numerous reports now confirm that advanced negotiations have already happened between FC Barcelona and the player’s entourage, with contract details sorted out as well. As per SPORT, the player will be earning the same amount of €9 million that he was earning at Athletic Bilbao and will keep most other details of the contract similar to that of the Basque club.
The player is also quite dedicated to becoming a Blaugrana, choosing to lose out on even the Basque region’s relaxed taxation for its residents in order to become a Barcelona player.
Moreover, despite there being the understandable risk of the player not being able to be registered, an issue that has caused agony to the Catalan club even in the previous summer when they made new signings, the 31-year-old has decided to have a clause added that would let him leave on loan for a season and then return when Barcelona would ideally be expected to have the means to register him.
Of course, that is simply a hypothetical scenario, but the existence of the clause added upon the insistence of the player clearly showcases a sign of goodwill and trust with FC Barcelona.
So far this season, the defender has had his fair share of injury problems and has missed out major chunks of the campaign for Bilbao as well. It remains to be seen how Xavi and his team address these issues, should Inigo Martinez end up arriving at FC Barcelona as is forecasted to happen.