Barcelona presented Jules Kounde on Monday as a new player and that seems to have calmed speculation on the future of Athletic Club’s Inigo Martinez.
It might change Barcelona’s priorities but it still remains an issue to be resolved for Athletic Club. Martinez is into the final year of his contract and negotiations may well be tricky for the 31-year-old, who is perhaps facing the last big contract decision of his career.
Speaking to the press after a 3-0 friendly win against Mirandes, manager Ernesto Valverde first remarked about his injury situation after Martinez was taken off.
“It was a little bit of a precaution. Today he was under observation. We are going to see [what comes of] the tests that they do on him. We don’t think that it’s anything major.”
In typical Valverde style, he gave little away to Diario AS about the speculation mounting on his future.
“About his future, there is nothing new. We are calm. I have not spoken with him, but he is a player we are relying on and that’s it.”
Athletic Club will be very keen to keep Martinez, in spite of the presence of two quality central defenders alongside him, Yeray Alvarez and Dani Vivian. The former Real Sociedad defender is very much the leader of the defence in Bilbao and Luis Enrique’s advocacy of Martinez for the national side marks him out as one of their best players.