Athletic Bilbao are moving quickly to sign a replacement for Aymeric Laporte, who is expected to be presented as a Manchester City player today, by recruiting another recent City target.
Along with Jonny Evans, Real Sociedad centre-back Iñigo Martínez was one of the names seriously considered by Pep Guardiola to reinforce the defence this month.
When City had extra cash to spend following their withdrawal from the Alexis Sanchez deal, they opted to invest heavily in Laporte – leaving Martínez at Real Sociedad.
But not for long. That is because, according to a host of reports from reliable sources in Spain, Athletic Club are on the verge of signing 26-year-old Martínez by paying his €32million release clause.
The previously capped Spain international meets Athletic Club’s ‘Basque only’ rule, where a player must be born in or have some sort of Basque blood, and around half of the money they have received from City for Laporte is being invested in a ready-made replacement.
Martínez will become the highest paid player at the San Mamés, earning a salary of €5million net per season. According to El Correo, as soon as he learned about the offer, he made the decision to pack his bags and join Real Sociedad’s Basque rivals.
To celebrate Nicolas Otamendi’s new deal, the City Store has released these new tees!