Real Sociedad Confirm Barcelona Interest in Star Defender But Issue 'Not for Sale' Warning
Real Socieded have confirmed that Barcelona are interested in signing Inigo Martinez - but have no plans to sell their star defender this summer.
La Blaugrana have made contact with their fellow La Liga side over the possibility of poaching the 26-year-old from the Anoeta stadium.
However, Sociedad's sporting director - Loren Juarros - has revealed in an interview with the press (via Sport) that the Basque club harbour no ambitions of letting Martinez leave the club in the near future.
He told reporters: "It's true Barca have spoken with us [about Martinez]. They've been in contact to show their interest in the player.
"But so far there is no offer on the table. That's all we can say. La Real have no intention of facilitating Inigo's exit to any club. He is irreplaceable. We do not want to sell him."
Sociedad's stance over Martinez means Barcelona would have to stump up the reported €32m release clause fee in his contract to enter negotiations with the centre-back and his agent.
Despite showing no desire to part ways with Martinez, Sociedad did leave him out of their starting lineup for a recent pre-season friendly encounter with Premier League Watford - a decision which has only stoked the fires over his potential departure.
Reports in Spain and Catalunya have both suggested that a move is imminent, with some going as far as to say that Martinez has already shook hands on a possible five-year deal with Barcelona.
Ernesto Valverde is keen to add another centre-half to his ranks, with the injury-plagued Thomas Vermaelen looking likely to leave for pastures new.
That would leave Valverde with Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano as his only viable options in the centre of the defence and, backed by the £200m obtained from Neymar's sale to PSG, would easily be able to afford Martinez.
The four-times capped Spain international has risen through the ranks at Sociedad, and has featured 223 times for his side's first-team.