Transfer news

Javier Martinez near Bayern deal

August 16, 2012
By ESPN.com news services

Bayern Munich's control panel on Thursday greenlighted the move of Athletic Bilbao's Javier Martinez, although the Bavarians said the transfer is not yet complete.

Javi Martinez with other half Spain Euro 2012 final
GettyImagesA deal that would send Atletico Bilbao's Javi Martinez to Munich is still under review.

"The Bayern board has reached a decision and in the next few days we will know if the transfer can take place or not," club president Uli Hoeness told Efe, the Spanish news agency. "I am aware of the negotiations and I would be happy if they were successful. But I don't know whether they are done yet or not."

The board is responsible for approving all club transfers, fees and approval. The German newspaper Bild initially reported the transfer as complete, but the team has made no official announcement.

The board is presided by Karlheinz Rummenigge and team director of sport Mathias Sammer.

Martinez, 23, has been a Bayern target from the beginning of the transfer window, and the Spaniard's move to the Allianz Arena would be a draw for Bundesliga.

Bild reported Wednesday evening that a €40 million deal ($49.4 million) had been agreed upon, which would be the highest-ever transfer fee paid by a German club -- surpassing the €35 million ($43.2 million) that Bayern handed to Stuttgart for Mario Gomez.

Bavarians coach Jupp Heynckes appeared optimistic about a deal for Martinez after the club's friendly Wednesday against Seligenporten, saying: "The transfer is in a good position, but not done yet. We have to be patient for a bit longer."

And Sammer had praise for Martinez.

"His stature and charisma alone make him a character at the center of play," he said. "He has enormous strategic skills, great passing abilities, he is physically tough, and has a powerful heading ability."

Martinez was substituted at halftime in Athletic's preseason friendly against Basque's Barakaldo Wednesday before rushing off in his car, fueling speculation that he was heading for talks.

However, Martinez's agent, Antonio Sanz, denied Bayern had even made an offer yet.

"This is a complete lie. The clubs are not negotiating, as Bilbao is not willing to negotiate," Sanz said. "I do not believe Bayern have put €40 million on the table. Javi Martinez will play for Athletic Bilbao next season."

Bayern already has given out €29.8 million ($36.8 million) on the likes of Mario Mandzukic, Xerdan Shaqiri and Dante this summer in its bid to become German champions again after failing to win a trophy the past two seasons.

The money may not be enough to compete with Borussia Monchengladbach, which has spent a total of €31.2 million ($38.4 million) on new players. Double holders Borussia Dortmund rank third with €26.5 million ($32.6 million) in a stat calculated by the German press agency DPA.

Bundesliga clubs so far have spent a total of €186.23 million ($229 million) and, should Bayern's deal for Martinez go through, it would eclipse the current record of €194 million ($239.8 million), set in 2007.