Barca seek Martinez alternatives

Barcelona are seeking other alternatives with their pursuit of Javi Martinez appearing to have hit a brick wall.

A report in El Correo maintains that the Catalans have drawn up a list of three players after Martinez’s club Athletic Bilbao refused to lower their €40m asking price for the World and European Championship winner.

Barca boss Tito Vilanova has been searching for a central defender all summer, although the need is now not so pressing with skipper Carles Puyol due to return to action after long-term injury and Javier Mascherano having penned a new four-year deal this week.

Top of La Blaugrana’s list is Liverpool’s Danish international Daniel Agger, who would cost around €15m and is yet to start a game on the Reds’ pre-season tour to the United States, as the Anfield club do not want to run the risk of him getting injured.

Manchester City’s Kolo Toure and Alex Song of Arsenal are others who are under consideration although at 31 the former’s age could count against him.

While Barca have not entirely thrown in the towel with Martinez – it is reported they will make another attempt before the transfer window closes – Bilbao President Josu Urrutia has repeatedly said the only way the 23-year-old will leave San Mames is if he expresses a desire to go and his €40m rescission clause is met.

Tags Javi Martinez