Barcelona have shown an interest in Real Sociedad stalwart Inigo Martinez.
As reported by Football Espana via Basque publication Noticias De Gipuzkoa, new manager Ernesto Valverde has zereod in on the defender to strengthen his back line. The reports have further been backed up by respected Sport journalist Albert Rogé
The 26-year-old defender has amassed 193 La Liga appearances for the Basque region club since his debut in 2011, having come through their academy previously. And, despite his current deal at the club running until June 2021, his €30m release clause viewed as easily attainable for the Catalan giants.
Part of Spain’s U21 European Championship winning side in 2013, Martinez has gone on to be capped four times at senior level for La Roja.
However, Barcelona, who are due for a huge windfall of clash from the once seemingly impossible sale of Neymar to PSG for €222m, are at the head of the pack this summer and should be able to get their man.
Interest in the defender is said to be high across Europe due to his release clause, with Manchester City known to be admirers, with manager Pep Guardiola having coveted him whilst in charge of both Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
With Jeremy Mathieu having been released, only recently signed Brazilian Marlon Santos is available as competition for Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti, with Javier Mascherano set to return to his favoured midfield slot.
And Valverde, who was raised in the Basque country and most recently spent a four year spell in charge of Sociedad's regional rivals Athletic Bilbao, has identified Martinez as the man to fill the void.