Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez has been on FC Barcelona’s radar for quite some time now, and numerous reports have suggested that a verbal understanding between both player and the approaching club exists. However, trusted Catalan journalist Gerard Romero has also just recently provided an update regarding the Spanish central defender.
According to Gerard Romero, the current plan of action that Barcelona is opting for is essentially going for Inigo Martinez in the summer of 2023 and signing him as a free agent.
This update also plays in line with recent reports suggesting that the priorities for January are the signings of potentially a right back and a pivot, and not so much an urgent need for another central defender. This is reportedly due to the availability of Marcos Alonso as a backup.
However, Romero has also been quick to inform that while a verbal agreement does in fact exist between the Catalan Club and Inigo Martinez, a contractual or formal agreement does not. This would suggest that a change of plans is still a potential occurrence that Barcelona should stay aware of and have some form of necessary contingency planned beforehand.
A likely reason Romero felt the need to inform fans of this may have something to do with the Gini Wijnaldum saga that occurred, where a pre-existing verbal agreement and planned medical was not enough to stop the then-Liverpool midfielder from joining PSG instead at the last moment.
Learning from that previous mistake, it would be wise for Barcelona to have a more sound and formal agreement already dedicated for the signature of Inigo Martinez as early as possible.
The Spaniard has so far participated in 9 out of the 14 La Liga games that Bilbao has played. Knee problems kept him out of action and he missed five games due to the injury.
The 31-year-old will also likely not be pursued in January as some earlier reports were suggesting, although a pre-agreement for the summer in a contractual form may be a viable option come the winter transfer window.