Barcelona eye Bilbao’s Martinez

Barcelona have set their sights on Athletic Bilbao’s talented midfielder Javi Martinez who is also on the radar of plenty of top clubs over Europe including Manchester United and Arsenal.

The 23 year old has been one of the pillars of the Bilbao side which reached two cup finals in the last season but ended up without any trophies as they were beaten to them by Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Marcelo Bielsa has recently put pen to paper a 3 year extension at the club and Martinez foresees better times at Bilbao under Bielsa.

“The fact that Bielsa is staying is great news for the club. I think he wants to continue on the work he has done so far and give continuity to the group,” Martinez was quoted as saying.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been a long term admirer of the Spaniard and has been closely following the progress of the player over the last season. Fergie could be tempted to sign the versatile Martinez as he looks to find a suitable replacement for Paul Scholes who has agreed a further one year extension at the club. However, with many top clubs in the fray the player wouldn’t come cheap. Martinez says that he is flattered to be linked to top sides but he is entirely focused on the Euros at the present moment.

“The fact I’m being linked with Barcelona is a sign that I’m playing well but I’m not thinking about any of that, I’m concentrating on the Euros and trying to get as many minutes as possible with the national team,” Martinez said.

“There’s a lot of talk about potential transfers but both [Fernando] Llorente and I have contracts.”

“I’m not thinking about leaving. I’m an Athletic player, if you ask me what I think about being a target for Barcelona then I will say that’s just a sign that I’m doing well. But I’m at home at Athletic and I have a contract.”

Arsenal are also reportedly interested in the player but Bilbao’s evaluation of the player could prove to be too much for the Londoners to meet.

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