Girona right-back Arnau Martinez has rapidly caught the attention of La Liga fans this season, and a few admiring glances from elsewhere too.
The 19-year-old right-back has been a force down the flank for Girona this season, providing a constant threat. During Girona’s 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu, he also managed to hold his own against Vinicius Junior too.
With a €20m release clause, rumours of interest from Barcelona have been steadily gathering pace in recent weeks. The Blaugrana have a chronic problem in the position and some believe Arnau might be the answer.
Speaking to Esport3 (via MD), Arnau spoke of his background, which included several years at La Masia.
“I also like Xavi as a footballer and as a coach, who is doing very well. I have been culé all my life. When I was born they made me a member, and I always went to the ground, together with my parents and my cousin.”
He had no sour feelings about being released by Barcelona.
“At first it was hard and I cried for a few days, but I have to thank them for kicking me out, otherwise I wouldn’t be here now. Perhaps I would be at Barça and play in the Atletic team.”
Arnau was used as a central defender until recent years when he converted to the right side. Previously he was known as ‘El Jefecito’ in tribute to former Barcelona central defender Javier Mascherano.
“They compared me a lot with him when I was at Barça because I was captain, because of the way I commanded, because I was versatile, more or less like Mascherano, and that’s why they called me that.”
The key question was whether Arnau would like to return. He did not want to put other clubs off though either.
“If I return, it will be to the first team. Obviously I would like to go back to Barça, but just as I would like to go to any of the big clubs.”