Carmelo Sánchez Agirre, Iñigo Martinez’s agent, spoke out in an interview with Deia, where he delved into last summer when Barcelona was close to signing the player but failed.
As things stand, the signing of Iñigo Martinez to Barcelona looks all but official.
Barcelona’s interest in him has been no secret, with rumors dating back to the time when he used to ply his trade for another Basque side: Real Sociedad. The player has had a turbulent time with Athletic Club and is seeking new pastures, and his agent has, in an interview with Deia, reflected on last summer. The Catalans were set to sign him for 15 million euros and an additional 5 million euros in add-ons, but the deal fell through.
Here is what Agirre had to say:
What happened with Barça’s interest?
Iñigo Martínez’s agent: “Iñigo has always been a Barcelona target, they wanted to sign him when he was at Real [Sociedad]. Barcelona contacted us and it takes a minute to reach an agreement with that club. I let Uriarte know of Barcelona’s interest so that he would take it into account because Nuñez could have gone to Celta, which is what happened. The sporting director of the Catalan club talks to Uriarte and Uriarte refers him to Berasategi because he has just landed at Ibaigane and prefers to deal with him. Berasategi tells Barcelona that there is no intention of transferring Iñigo and closes the door to any negotiation.”
So, is it true that there was no offer from Barcelona?
Iñigo Martínez’s agent: “There is no formal offer, but they don’t say it’s because Berasategi has previously closed himself off. In view of how the issue of renewal was, I offered to try it myself. I am an agent recognized by the RFEF as an intermediary and yet he claims that there was no offer, but I told him about it, and it consisted of 15 million plus five million in variables. There was no response and I felt disappointed. The conditions were beneficial for Athletic Club, given their financial situation, the deficit and so on. On the other hand, Iñigo was denied the option of ending his career at a club whose aspirations I don’t need to mention here. Athletic applied the policy of the dog in the manger, neither took the initiative to tie up Iñigo, nor let a third party do it. I told Berasategi to forget about the renewal, that’s how I see it. It was a moment of frustration that they have sold as a cold decision within a negotiation process that did not take place.”
Berasategi argued that an official offer has to be in writing, to invalidate Barcelona’s July move.
Iñigo Martínez’s agent: “Athletic’s offer is in writing, it’s a sheet of paper with the figures, without a signature or letterhead. And I’m talking about the one that Berasategi sent me by email dated April 2022. When Elizegi was there. Since then, the club has not addressed me with any paper. They have not even asked us to sit down. They lie. I am not lying. What happens is that they take refuge in the fact that they speak with a background where it says “Athletic”, they raise the flag of the club to reinforce their version. It is a way of presenting an unequal duel before the public opinion, but I have not lied.”
Yesterday it was reported that Iñigo has undergone surgery in Barcelona.
Iñigo Martínez’s agent: “Yes, yesterday he underwent surgery to solve the plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of the game for a good part of the year. The doctors estimate that he will be ready to start the preseason. I dedicate this news to those who haven’t stopped accusing Iñigo of abandoning the ship on socials.”
It’s worth reminding that Iñigo Martínez’s contract is ending this summer, which means he will be a free transfer to FC Barcelona. Iñigo played for Real Sociedad starting from 2009 until 2018, and that’s when he moved to Athletic Club for 32 million euros to play for them until 2023.