Iñigo Martínez 'a step away' from joining Barcelona from Real Sociedad in £29m deal

  • Spaniard's arrival would mean the departure of Marlon Santos on loan to another La Liga side.

  • Juventus, AC Milan and Manchester City have also been linked with the centre-back this summer.

Iñigo Martínez has made four appearances for the Spanish national team.Getty

Spanish international centre-back Iñigo Martínez is reportedly set to complete a €32m (£29m, $38m) move from Real Sociedad to Barcelona ahead of the coming season. Sport claims that the deal could be completed in the coming hours and would mean the departure of Marlon Santos on loan to another La Liga side.

Martínez, 26, has been linked with Juventus, AC Milan and Manchester City this summer after having established himself as a key player for the Real Sociedad back-line since being promoted from the club academy in 2011.

The Daily Mail reported earlier this week that Manchester City were still considering making an approach for the Spaniard as Pep Guardiola is yet to bolster the heart of the back-line.

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However, on Thursday (3 August) both local publication Noticias de Gipuzkoa and Marca reported that he could finally move to Barcelona with the La Liga giants considering triggering his €32m clause after a personal request from new manager Ernesto Valverde.

Now Sport says that Martinez has also given the green light ahead of completing the move.

The Catalan publication says that the Spanish international is just one "step away" from becoming a new Barcelona player after having already informed Real Sociedad that he wants to join the Catalans.

Martínez is expected to sign a five-year deal at the Nou Camp and Barcelona would need to pay his €32m clause in full to complete the deal as the Basque side are unlikely to negotiate a cut-price fee.

The 26-year-old would become Barcelona's fourth signing of the summer following the previous arrivals of Nelson Semedo, Gerard Deulofeu and Marlon Santos.

In this sense, Sport claims that Martinez's arrival would mean the loan departure of 21-year-old Marlon to another club from La Liga as Valverde also has Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Javier Mascherano to cover the position.

Marlon joined Barcelona earlier this summer after the Catalans activated an option worth around €6m to secure his services from Fluminense after he impressed on loan with the second team during the 2016-2017 campaign.

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Valverde was expected to give him a chance with the first-team following the release of Jeremy Mathieu. However, with Martinez now expecting to add more competition to the defender, Sport claims Marlon could join Leganes - or another La Liga club - in order to earn some experience in the top flight before having a chance to establish himself at Barcelona.

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