Old Trafford set for busy summer.
Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson is preparing move for Athletic Bilbao’s Javi Martinez as he considers radically overhauling his central midfield options in the summer.
Ferguson is desperate to bring in fresh blood to strengthen up the Old Trafford engine room and the Spain international has emerged as a serious target after becoming a key player for Bilbao over the last few years. The Red Devil’s chief is desperate to add a quality defensive midfielder to his squad next season and has already dispatched his brother Martin Ferguson to run the rule over the 23-year-old.
Martinez has now jumped to the top of Ferguson’s summer transfer hit list following a glowing recommendation from United’s chief European scout. The 70-year-old is desperate to replace Darren Fletcher after the Scotland captain was ruled out for the foreseeable future with a bowel condition. Despite coaxing Paul Scholes out of retirement to fill in for rest of the current campaign Ferguson knows he can’t rely on the 37-year-old in the long-term.
Martinez has won seven caps for his country and was part of the Spain squad that triumphed at the 2010 World Cup also captaining La Roja’s Under-21 side to European Championship glory in Denmark last summer.
Manchester United forced to switch target attention
With Xherdan Shaqiri now on his way to Bayern Munich, Manchester United will switch their attention back to Athletic Bilbao and Spanish starlet, Iker Muniain.
This young Spanish pairing would set Man United back around £45m and indeed the Old Trafford side are not the only member of Europe’s football elite who are keen on either of these Athletic Bilbao talents. The Basque side are also set to receive summer offers for forward Fernando Llorente as they struggle to keep hold of their top talents who appear keen to move on.
Though Los Leones look good for a spot in the top six Messrs Muniain and Martinez may well be very tempted by a move to the Premier League.
Martinez is a strong midfielder who could add more steel to the Man United side, whilst also offering a goal threat and a hard working presence that has perhaps been missing. The 23 year old is now part of Vicente del Bosque’s senior Spanish national team set-up after impressing for a number of years in the Under 21 side.
The 6ft 3in midfielder has amassed over 200 appearances for Bilbao and is also consistently linked with interest from a number of Serie A giants.
Teenager attacker Iker Muniain is considered one of the hottest prospects in La Liga and the 19 year old has already collected over 100 appearances for Athletic and his tricky, intelligent displays, primarily on the wing, have led many to believe he is a big star for the future.
Sir Alex Ferguson is seemingly adopting a more cost effective transfer policy, investing funds in youthful additions rather than targeting established experienced talents. A move for this duo though would not come cheap as San Mames president Josu Urrutia is looking to make around £20m+ plus from both of these Man United targets.