Athletic Target Javi Martinez Could Be Available For Under €10 Million
Athletic’s desire to bring Javi Martinez back to the club next season is no secret. The Basques have been courting the 31-year-old for the past year and the chances of signing the Bayern Munich midfielder are increasing. Although Martinez has one year left on his contract, reports in Germany claim that Bayern have already made the decision to sell him during the next transfer window.
Back in November it was reported that Athletic were in talks with Bayern to sign Martinez for a fee of around €10 million. However, the midfielder may actually be available for a lower price.
According to a report from Juanma Velasco of Mundo Deportivo, there is reason to believe that Martinez could be signed for anywhere between €4.5 to €9 million. The reasoning comes from comparing Bayern’s sale of Dante, who joined Wolfsburg for €4.5 million, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who departed for Manchester United for €9 million. With United being a direct European rival, Bayern are said to have doubled the fee.
Dante and Schweinsteiger were in similar situations to that of Martinez. Both were 31 at the time and going into the final year of their contracts. Although, it should also be mentioned that Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels, and Medhi Benatia were all sold for much higher fees despite also being over 30 when they left Bayern.
Ultimately, Martinez’s price will likely depend on the amount of clubs showing interest in him and their willingness to negotiate. Athletic are said to be leading the race to sign the midfielder while Getafe and Leeds are also in the running. Offers from the United States are expected as well.
Over the years Martinez has never hidden his love for Athletic. “Bilbao is a paradise,” he said in a recent interview. “I could never say no to Athletic.” While all signs point to Martinez leaving Germany in the next transfer window, Martinez explained in an interview with Movistar+ that the situation is out of his hands.
“What I understand is that the club is in control and they have the last word. There are no clauses here like in Spain. If the club says you aren’t leaving then you aren’t leaving. In Spain when you sign a contract you have a clause, but not here. If the club doesn’t want to sell you then they don’t sell you. Right now I’m only thinking about being able to leave home on day. In football terms, I’m only thinking about finishing the league as well as possible and trying to win the titles that we can.”
Despite reports that Bayern don’t view Martinez as a key player moving forward, he has been encouraged by more playing time. Earlier in the season a picture surfaced showing Martinez crying on the bench due to lack of chances which has improved under new manager Hans-Dieter Flick.
“I look at the data with the current coach. Since he took over I have played I think 85% or 90% of the games when I have been healthy. Unfortunately I had a quadriceps injury in December. I recovered a week or two before the league stopped. I have spoken with the coach and he is very happy with my performance. He said that he was very happy with me, that he believed I was important to the team and that he was counting on me. I have the confidence of both the club and the coach.”
If reports are true Athletic will have a great opportunity to bring Martinez back to San Mamés. Other clubs will certainly be interested in signing the 31-year-old, but for now his familiarity with Athletic and love of the club and city makes the Basques the most likely destination for Javi Martinez when the season comes to an end.