Why Manchester City should plot a January swoop for Inigo Martinez
The news for a new centre-back for defending Premier League champions Manchester City was exacerbated earlier this week when they lost John Stones for at least a month due to a thigh injury.
This has left Nicolas Otamendi as Manchester City’s only available frontline centre-back.
With Aymeric Laporte out until February and Vincent Kompany having left in the summer, Pep Guardiola’s options in central defence have been depleted.
He was forced to use Fernandinho in central defence alongside Otamendi in the 3-0 Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in Kharkiv on Wednesday.
The decision not to sign another defender has already started causing problems for City, and with the EFL Cup starting from next week, it would be a major disaster if another centre-back picks up a serious problem.
Guardiola cannot afford any further injury in defence and must make it a priority to sign one when the transfer window reopens in a few months’ time.
Last year, the Sky Sports had claimed that City were interested in signing Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez. However, a deal didn’t go through and he went on to join Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.
Inigo Martinez, 28, is a vastly experienced defender having made close to 350 appearances in La Liga. Predominantly a central defender, he can deputise at left-back or in defensive midfield when required.
The Spaniard is a fantastic defender and brilliant leader at the hub of the side. On the ball, he is capable, which is something that’ll no doubt appeal to Guardiola, who demands skill in possession from all of his players.
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Standing at 5ft 11in tall, the 28-year-old is surprisingly good in the air and can outmuscle opposition to win headers. He has good composure on the ball, ability to pick out a pass in the final third and great positional awareness.
Athletic and tenacious in the tackle, the 28-year-old has the required attributes needed to be a success in the Premier League.
Martinez has been impressing in La Liga for a while now. If Guardiola wants a cheaper, experienced and ball-playing defender, the Athletic Bilbao man may provide the answer.