Barcelona ‘have already lined up a replacement for retired Gerard Pique in Bilbao’s Inigo Martinez’
Barcelona ‘have already lined up their replacement for retired icon Gerard Pique… with Xavi’s side eyeing Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez as a cheap option in January’
Barcelona want Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez to replace Gerard Pique, according to reports in Spain.
The veteran defender, 35, announced his surprise retirement from football on Thursday, with Saturday’s match against Almeria being his last.
And as Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo report, the Spanish giants quickly identified Martinez as the perfect man to fill the void left by Pique.
Barcelona reportedly want Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez to replace Gerard Pique
Veteran defender Pique (above) announced his shock retirement from football on Thursday
Centre-back Martinez has been capped 19 times by Spain and is considered one of La Liga’s best defenders.
The 31-year-old Basque Country player is out of contract in the summer of 2023, meaning clubs outside Spain can approach to sign him on a free transfer from January, and he could move on for nothing at the end of the season.
Barcelona reportedly have a verbal agreement to sign Martinez in July but could explore the possibility of signing him in the winter transfer window if they can secure him cheaply, with Bilbao potentially keen to avoid losing him for free.
Barca boss Xavi (above) has reportedly identified centre-back Martinez as the man to step in
However, his knee injury situation is said to be of concern after suffering from patellar tendonitis in his left knee in pre-season.
Pique’s retirement comes amid tensions at the Nou Camp over the club’s attempts to force him to save the cash-strapped club.
His exit could save Barcelona £44million.