Girona defender Arnau Martinez has been earning rave reviews for his performances in his debut La Liga campaign this season. And top clubs like Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have taken an interest in the 19-year-old right-back.
In fact, if a report from Mundo Deportivo is to be believed, Atletico Madrid have already held talks with Girona to sign Martinez in the summer and have presented an offer for the youngster already.
Atletico Madrid have Nahuel Molina as their only natural right-back in the squad currently. The Argentine international has not always performed consistently this season, which has compelled Diego Simeone to bank on Marcos Llorente as a makeshift right-back.
But the manager has admitted in the past that he would prefer to utilise Llorente’s services higher up the pitch, which has prompted the club to look for a new right-back.
Marseille’s Jonathan Clauss has been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid, but they have also identified young Martinez as an option to reinforce the right side of their defensive line.
The report goes on to state that Atletico Madrid have already initiated negotiations with Girona to sign the 19-year-old former La Masia trainee in the summer.
Girona sports director Quique Carcel had flown to the Spanish capital a few weeks ago to discuss the transfer with Los Colchoneros, who are understood to have presented an offer for the right-back, who has a release clause worth €20 million in his contract.
The report also states that Atletico have secured a first refusal on Martinez which means that Girona will have to inform them and give them a chance to match any higher offer that they receive for the right-back.
As such, Martinez’s exit from Estadi Montilivi looks certain in the summer. While Barcelona have an interest in their former academy ace, it seems like Atletico Madrid have taken the lead in the race for his signing as things stand.
Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”
Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.
Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.
Llorente on Madrid derby
“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.
When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”
Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”
“Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.
A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.
Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.
“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.
Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham
The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.
“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.
Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.
“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.
Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”
Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.
“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.