• Inigo Martinez is contracted with Athletic Club until 2023
  • He has stalled extension talks because he is keen on moving to Barca
  • Barcelona are yet to register Jules Kounde to their first-team squad

FC Barcelona have reportedly approached Athletic Club with an offer for defender Inigo Martinez.

Martinez has entered the final year in his contract with Athletic Club, but has been stalling extension talks as he is determined to move to Barcelona, reported Spanish outlet The SPORT.

Even Barcelona are as eager to land the Spanish center-back as he is admired by both club's head coach Xavi Hernandez and sporting director Mateu Alemany, according to One Football.

Unfortunately, the Athletic Club have turned down Barcelona's bid of $20 million, which included add-ons, for Martinez, as per the report from The SPORT.

Martinez can also don the role of a left-back, something that could help Barcelona due to the lack of options following the departures of Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti.

Athletic Bilbao players celebrate after Inigo Martinez put them in front at San Mames
Athletic Bilbao players celebrate after Inigo Martinez put them in front at San Mames AFP / ANDER GILLENEA

Right now, Barcelona's top priority is to register center-back Jules Kounde they signed from Sevilla FC earlier this summer window. Ahead of their opening La Liga fixture of the 2022-23 season, the Catalans managed to register Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and Franck Kessie, but failed to sign Kounde.

Barcelona's immediate project is to clear out players such as Memphis Depay, Martin Braithwaite, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Frenkie de Jong in order to clear space on their salary bracket to register Kounde to their first-team squad. It has been reported there's a clause in Kounde's contract that will allow him to leave the club for free after terminating his deal if Barcelona fail to register him before Aug. 31.

Meanwhile, Xavi has also shortlisted Chelsea's full-back Marcos Alonso as his final target for the 2022 summer at Barcelona.

The Catalans kick-started the new season with a 4-1 victory over Real Sociedad last week. Lewandowski, who joined the Camp Nou side from Bayern Munich this summer, opened the scoring within a minute from the kick-off whistle. However, the traveling netted a sixth-minute equalizer.

In the second half, Ousmane Dembele doubled Barcelona's lead before Lewandowski made it 3-1 in the favor of the home side. The teenage sensation Ansu Fati scored the fourth goal for Barcelona.

Xavi's men are next scheduled to take on Real Valladolid at Camp Nou on Sunday.