Former Barcelona right-back Arnau Martinez has been linked with a return to the Camp Nou and has now opened up on the speculation surrounding his future ahead of the January transfer window.
The 19-year-old knows the club well, having spent six years at the club’s famous La Masia academy, before leaving in 2016. Martinez is currently catching the eye in the Spanish top flight with Girona but could soon be heading back to the Camp Nou.
Xavi is believed to be keen to sign Martinez for €20 million, and the teenager has told Catalunya Radio he would like to play for Barcelona but he will only come back if it’s to be a regular in the starting XI.
“If I return it will be to the first team,” he said. “Obviously I would like to return to Barça, but I would like to go to any of the big clubs, which are the best in the world.”
Martinez has already established himself as a regular at Girona. He’s made 12 La Liga appearances this season for the Catalans, scoring twice and picking up an assist.
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Martinez Thanks Barca For Kicking Him Out
The defender has also spoken about his exit from Barcelona back in 2016. Martinez says that while the departure was painful it has helped him build his career and find first-team football in La Liga.
“In the beginning it was hard and I cried for a few days, but I have to thank them for kicking me out, because otherwise I wouldn’t be here now,” he added. “Maybe I’d be at Barça and playing for the subsidiary.”
Barca may face competition for Martinez’s signature but may be helped by the fact the youngster has always been a supporter and would love to play for Xavi.
“I like him [Xavi] as a footballer and as a coach, who is doing very well. I have been a culer all my life,” he added. “When I was born I was made a member and I always went to the field, with my parents, the my cousin.”
A New Little Boss For Barca?
Martinez was known as the ‘little boss’ during his time at Barcelona, a nickname he shared with Javier Mascherano. The defender was a big fan of the Argentine and explained why he’d been given the same name.
“I was compared to him a lot when I was in Barcelona,” he said. “I was a leader and a versatile player, it’s a bit like Mascherano, that’s why they called me that.”
Right-back has been a problem position for Barca ever since Dani Alves left for the first time all the way back in 2016. A host of players have since been used in that position but have been unable to make it their own.
Xavi currently has Sergi Robert and Hector Bellerin as options this season but has most recently preferred to play left-back Alejandro Balde in that position. It would therefore be no surprise if Barca did try to sign a new defender, with Martinez clearly a top target.