Signing Javi Martinez Must Be Athletic Club’s Top Priority
Over the weekend cameras captured a very emotional Javi Martinez on the Bayern Munich bench. The 31-year-old was in tears after not being selected for the team once again and had to be consoled by an assistant coach. Martinez has won everything in his eight years with Bayern, 17 trophies to be precise, while always being a key player for the Bavarians. However, it’s become clear this season that he’s no longer a part of the plans.
Martinez’s time in Germany is coming to an end. He’s yet to start a single game this season and has accumulated just 132 total minutes as a substitute. The midfielder still has one year left on his contract but will not be signing a renewal, and likely wouldn’t be offered one anyway. Bayern have a history of selling players in these positions to avoid losing them for nothing and sources claim that Martinez will be leaving the club next summer.
The images have been seen by millions of football fans and comes at an interesting time to say the least. Just days prior Martinez was interviewed by El Correo where he openly shared his love for Athletic and the city of Bilbao while also saying that he would find it hard to turn down an offer to return one day. Reading between the lines, it almost sounds as though the World Cup winner was asking Athletic to save him.
Over the summer, Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta openly admitted that the club was interested in signing Martinez, but eventually explained that they couldn’t pursue the 31-year-old because he was still under contract with Bayern who weren’t interested in selling. That all appears to have changed now. If the Basques are serious about improving they must make a serious effort to bring Martinez back to San Mames.
Bayern likely won’t sell Martinez for cheap and his wages will still be high, but a deal isn’t impossible. In fact, president Aitor Elizegi has already gone on record saying that “paying 20 million for Javi Martinez wouldn’t be a problem at all”. If that is truly the case and Bayern are willing to part ways with the midfielder then there will be no excuse if Athletic don’t try to make a move in the coming months.
At this points it’s unlikely that Bayern would want to part ways with Martinez in January. He’s still a very good player and the Bavarians are fighting for several trophies this season. However, if Athletic are in the race for Europe when the transfer window opens it would be irresponsible not to at least make contact with Bayern Munich. At worst the two sides could begin negotiations which would carry over into the summer.
There’s no denying the fact that signing Javi Martinez would immediately make Athletic a stronger team. The Osasuna product is an exceptional defensive midfielder and a force in front of the back line. Despite his age, he’s still more than capable of taking the ball forward while also having the versatility to play as a center-back if needed. Not to mention, the experience and leadership he would bring would be an invaluable asset as well.
Returning to Athletic would be a beautiful story for Martinez and all the pieces seem to be fitting into place perfectly. He loves the club, would make the team better, and fans would be excited to see him back at San Mamés. It’s almost as if the story is writing itself but the ending will depend heavily on what Athletic does next. A Javi Martinez homecoming has become a real possibility and it’s up Athletic Club to make it happen.