It feels like it was just yesterday when a Bayern Munich had to pry a young 23-year-old Javi Martinez away from Athletic Bilbao at Jupp Heynckes’ request. Now, seven years later, the man who was the catalyst for Bayern’s treble win is back on the radar of his former club.
Speaking to radio station Cadena SER, Bilbao sporting director Rafa Alkorta confirmed his club’s interest in re-signing former players to the first team. Among those mentioned were Manchester United’s Ander Herrera and Tottenham Hotspur’s Fernando Lorente.
We are interested in Javi Martínez, Ibai, Ander Herrera, [Fernando] Llorente... we’re interested in all of them.
All these players have a few traits common between them — they’re all aging, Basque players who once played for Bilbao and now find themselves outside of their club’s respective starting lineups. Athletic, who have a policy of only signing Basque players, need every talent they can get, so going after experienced campaigners is a good strategy for them.
While Martinez has repeatedly stated that he is happy at Bayern, the recent lack of playing time combined with interest from his former club could drive the midfielder to consider his options. Bayern, who already have a slew of youthful options in midfield, will likely try to make this deal a reality.
All in all, a transfer of Javi Martinez to Athletic Bilbao would be beneficial for all parties involved.