Barcelona Should Sign Javi Martinez Before the Euros

Everyone accepts that one of Barcelona’s main needs this summer is a central defender. With Carles Puyol battered and ageing (though he should make a full recovery) and Gerard Pique’s attitude questioned at the end of the season, the team was forced into a make-shift defense for key matches and the results were not pretty.

Javi Martinez is a prime candidate – effusively praised in a recent piece from Graham Hunter. Martinez has demonstrated his quality with big-time performances against Spain’s top teams and, of course, Manchester United. A relentless tackler and ball-chaser who can also pass his way out of the back, he is also a perfect fit for Barcelona’s style. The best part is he can play as a midfielder or defender. This would give Barcelona two players – in Martinez and Javier Mascherano – that are flexible enough to shift between and during games. Mascherano is probably better as a midfielder, Martinez as a defender.

The sums being discussed for the 23-year old are already eye-popping. It would be hard to prise him away from Athletic Bilbao for anything less than €25mn. But Barcelona would be wise to act soon. Since Puyol is unavailable for the Euro, Martinez will start for Spain. A good run there and his value will almost certainly increase – perhaps to €40mn, which seems like a silly price to pay for a central defender.

The kicker is that if things do not go well for Martinez at the Euro Championships, his value will not drop. His body of work is impossible to refute. Therefore, buyers would do well to close the deal before the tournament. It's a simple game theory argument.

Javi Martinez may ultimately not be available for any price. Don’t rule out a pact between him, Iker Muniain, and Fernando Llorente to stay at Bilbao for another couple years and try to build a winner. For all the players who have grabbed at the first big check someone waved in their face (I know you are reading, Sergio Canales), there are so many who have benefited from waiting.

Fernando Torres, Kun Aguero, David Villa, and David Silva all waited a couple years before making their move to an upper-upper-echelon team.

Posted by: Andrew, Columnist at  'Futbolaholic'


  1. Dearest Andrew,

    While I agree with you that Javi martinez is a quality player, I personally prefer that Barca do not end up signing him for a couple of reasons: He isn't a classic, traditional (now much-needed) defender. And he wont offer anything busi, and masch aren't able to offer..

  2. My primary focus is that Barca have the best possible team that they can. If that means we must sign Martinez, so be it. My preference is Thiago Silva but that is another story. As a football fan, there is appeal in Bilbao's best players staying together. A strong Bilbao team would make La Liga more attractive. It detracts from La Liga that Barca in 2nd finished 30 points ahead of third.

  3. Anonymous21.5.12

    Also, of all the available options, he would be among the most expensive. Bilbao aren't a poor club, they just have this rule about playing only Basques. It's not like trying to get a Levante player.

  4. aiynosaint nigeria22.5.12

    for me personally we need a LB,CB and FC i want barca to sign him , jordi alba/bale and another quality centre back maybe thiago silver/david luis of chelsea

  5. Thanks for the article Andrew.

    As you argue, Javi Martinez must be Barcelona's first and top priority. Our defense has been far too weak this season, with only Mascherano excelling - despite, like Martinez, being a defensive midfielder 'recycled' as a centerback.

    The price tag shouldn't be a major issue as last season we paid 40Million for Alexis and 29M for Cesc. As these signings proved, if you spend 'big' money you normally get quality players in return.

    My mind is clearer here:


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