According to the latest media speculation, Bayern Munich utility player Javi Martinez, who has featured at centre back, defensive midfield and on the right for the Bundesliga kings at sporadic parts of the German season, is the subject of a potential tug-of-war between Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester City.
Considering the player's 2012 price-tag, £31.6m and his subsequent status as the division's most expensive import, one would imagine that game-time would not be hard to come by for the Spaniard, however, since Pep Guardiola's introduction to the dugout, Martinez has made seldom appearances at best and reportedly said life under Pep is "not how [he] imagined".
The 25-year-old, previously of Athletic Bilbao, has exceptional pedigree, though, as he was a Europa League runner-up in 2012, is a two-time titlist with Bayern, a Champions League winner and was capped for Spain during their famous 2010 FIFA World Cup win.
Renowned for his aerial dominance, his passing skill, his tackling ability and his indirect threat from dead ball situations, Martinez has transferable skills that would be applicable to English football, but how do his statistics from this season in the Bundesliga compare to his Premier League peers such as Liverpool's action hero Lucas Leiva, Chelsea destroyer Nemanja Matic and Tottenham Hotspur's beast Sandro?
|Club||Tackle/ App||Int'ception/ App||Clear/ App||Pass Acc||Pass/ App||App||Min|
From the data table above, it is evident that Lucas has an obvious edge in multiple departments and is arguably the division leader when it comes to a deep midfield role. The unheralded Brazilian is responsible for committing over three challenges per match, intercepts the ball almost twice per game and has the highest passing accuracy of all four athletes.
Javi Martinez is not too far behind him, though. The Spaniard tackles 2.6 times he makes an appearance (some of which may have been as a substitute, providing him less time to make as big an impact as a starter), intercepts the ball 1.6 times, clears the ball 2.7 times per game and has the second highest passing accuracy - 89.7% - which is far higher than Sandro and Matic's.
If Bayern wanted to recuperate the whole of the financial outlay of Martinez, then Arsenal may be out-priced in the market, particularly when Manchester City may be willing to go higher than £30m.
The player may not have much ground to enforce a move, either, as he has three years left on his current deal, however, if the German giants were willing to settle for a figure between £20m and £30m then this might be an acquisition that could happen in the coming months. The Daily Star, for instance, say a £28m fee could be settled.
Spanish journal Mundo Deportivo claim enquiries have already been made by both Arsenal and City yet it is unclear if that has developed into a formal bidding process.