Another long summer transfer saga might be coming to an end, as Bayern Munich are reported to be one step closer to finally completing their signing of Javi Martinez from Athletic Bilbao, with reports varying from the clubs agreeing (finally) to a transfer fee and even suggesting that the Spain international is already going through a medical in Germany.
If this deal is actually happening, Bayern will set a new German Bundesliga Transfer record by finally agreeing to the €40 million demands from the Basque club, with Bayern officials claiming how frustrasting the negotiations are/were and how they’re about to give up on the whole deal.
Bilbao have looked bad, losing their first two matches of the season (3-5 and 0-4) without both Javi Martinez and Fernando Llorente, looking to leave the club to Bayern Munich (or Manchester City who have also shown a late interest in Martinez) and to Juventus (looking for any striker they can get their hands on). While the Llorente situation is unclear as of now, Martinez seems to be a done deal. Bilbao might not be able to get someone to replace him at such short notice and the limited talent pool they deal with, but €40 million is a nice way to soften the blow.
Martinez, 23, has been part of the Spanish squads that won the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 Euro, although he never started for the team in the two campaigns. He was one of the best players on the side that won the U-21 European title, but also part of the disappointing U-23 squad to the London Olympics.
Martinez actually came through the Osasuna youth system, joining Bilbao in 2005, just before his 18th birthday. Mostly a central midfielder to begin with, Martinez became a starter for the team right away, playing in 251 matches for the side since 2006, although he has become more of a central defender since Marcelo Bielsa took over the side in 2011. Martinez has also scored 26 goals for the club in all competitions.
The interesting twist in the way that the transfer saga unfolded is a Spanish transfer rule saying a player can buy himself out of his contract and deliver the release clause money to the Spanish FA, even if the club doesn’t want to release him. Under Spanish tax laws, this would add an extra cost to the €40 million cost of the release clause, but it seems Bayern Munich are willing to cope with the price so they can partner him up with Bastian Schweinsteiger in the middle of the field.