After long and tough negotiations between the bosses of the Säbener-Straße in Munich and the President of Athletic Club, the soap-opera of the summer transfer window finally came to an end. Javier Martínez Aguinaga will go to München for € 40m to play for Bayern. Martínez is one of many Spanish homegrown players trying to make it abroad. After Carvajal, Joeslu and Domínguez he is the fourth player to join the Bundesliga this summer. It is a real exodus of Spanish players leaving their league to compete somewhere else, if you have a look at the English league this escape of talents gets even more remarkable but this is another story.
Athletic bought Javi Martínez in 2006 from the B-team of Osasuna for around € 6m, so receiving € 40m six years later is not a bad deal at all. However the Basques are very proud people and this combined with the fact that Athletic’s President Josu Urrutia wants to be reelected as President and not to be seen as the man who sold their best players, supplies the rationale why Martínez was not allowed to leave the Basque traditional club for not even a cent less. But after this deal is done now, a lot of questions for Bayern fans are popping up. Who is Javi Martínez? On what positions can he play and can he help Bayern Munich to improve? With probably the most important question: Is he really worth € 40m?
Let us start at the beginning. Martínez was born in Estella close to Pamplona in the Basque County. That’s where he started playing football as a kid for several regional clubs. In 2005 he signed for Osasuna B and despite the fact that he never played for their first team, Athletic bought him one year later. The 17-year-old instantly became a starter as defensive midfielder. Martínez has played for several youth sides of the Spanish National team and has won the U-19 [in 2007] and U-21 [in 2009] EUROs. Spain’s National team coach Vicente del Bosque called up the Basque-player in 2010 to play for the first team, the very same year he became World Champion and two years later European Champion, although he only played once in both tournaments. The legendary Spanish Coach himself was one of the first to congratulate Bayern München for this transfer deal as he exclusively said to newspaper BILD
Bayern will have a lot of joy with this player. He is a great player and a good guy. His vision on the pitch is superb. You can only congratulate Bayern for this deal
Javi Martínez is a defensive midfielder. Not a classical enforcer but with brilliant game opening skills, more of a so-called ‘box-to-box’ player. Due to his great football abilities he can pass the ball under pressure and always knows where his teammates are to feed them the ball. At Athletic he played as defensive midfielder for a long time but with the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa, the Argentinean Coach used him as central defender because of his size of 1,90m and his game opening ability. It is rumored that Javi Martínez wasn’t too happy with this role and it might be one of the reasons he wanted to sign for Bayern. But without a doubt he can play this position very well, too.
So Bayern are basically buying two players in one, although Jupp Heynckes wants to use him in his usual role as a defensive midfielder. There the Basque will improve Bayern’s game, as they had some problems last season on their ‘Doppelsechs’. The 23-year-old can cause new competition and alongside a healthy Bastian Schweinsteiger, the duo could teach their opponents the meaning of fear again. But Martínez has not only good football skills, but with his size is a constant threat on set-pieces and could head in goals as his new teammate Daniel van Buyten does.
Is Martinez really worth the € 40m release-clause Bayern München paid for him — its way too soon to know. Fact is that he showed everybody he can compete at a great club in a great league and at Bayern he could move to the top of world-class players. A certain Xabi Alonso for example is not getting any younger and so he could also improve his chances to play an important role for the Spanish National team in the future with this move to Bayern. Because at Athletic he was not able to play Champions League football and to become world-class you have to compete with the very best teams every season. One of the few things he still needs to learn is to control his Basque temper because during 201 games for Athletic he received 58 yellow cards and was sent off five times.
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