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Barcelona close to signing Inigo Martinez

Barcelona are close to signing Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez on a free transfer, according to Relevo.

The Catalan club tried to sign him last summer and in the January transfer window. But they could not seal a deal due to their finances and Athletic Bilbao’s demands.

However, Barcelona want to tie up the deal after agreeing terms with the player a while back.

The player’s entourage is worried about the club’s financial instability. The Catalans are in a dire situation, with their accounts in tatters after COVID-19 decimated their revenue.

They have had to pull several economic levers by selling their studios and museums to get funds to sign and register their players.

La Liga has not made it easy. The league president Javier Tebas wants to ensure that the club is not living above its means.

Martinez and his representatives are considering the Negreira case and its implications for Barcelona.

Prosecutors accuse Barcelona of paying €8.4 million to former vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, and his company in return for favourable refereeing decisions.

The case is now in court, and the club could face drastic sanctions that could spell danger.

If not for the case, Martinez would be a Barcelona player already. He is 31 and looking for a final adventure that will give him European football and the opportunity to win titles.

Martinez will likely replace Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti at Barcelona. They left the club last summer, and Barcelona have been without a left-footed central defender since then,

Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez likes Martinez and is pushing the club to sign him.

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