Arsenal Move for Javi Martinez Could Be as Big a Transfer Coup as Mesut Ozil

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 01:  Javi Martinez of Bayern Muenchen tackles Danny Welbeck of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Manchester United and FC Bayern Muenchen at Old Trafford on April 1, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

If Bayern Munich decide they don’t need Javi Martinez, Arsenal should do everything in their power to snap him up. Given his particular collection of attributes, he could be the most important Arsenal signing of the past decade.

Obviously, the record transfer of Mesut Ozil was a hugely significant moment in the club's recent history. However, Arsenal arguably need Martinez more. When the Gunners got Ozil, they already had a collection of balletic playmakers. As thing stand, Arsenal have a chronic need for a midfield spoiler, and Martinez fits the bill.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 01:  Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United closes down Javi Martinez of Bayern Muenchen during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Manchester United and FC Bayern Muenchen at Old Trafford on April 1, 20
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The idea that Martinez could become surplus to requirements in Germany seemed, until recently, preposterous. The Spaniard was a key component of the side that won a treble under Jupp Heynckes in 2012/13. However, under Pep Guardiola, he has made just 13 Bundesliga starts all season.

Arsenal are now investigating the possibility that Bayern could let him go, according to The Telegraph.

Jeremy Wilson writes:

Arsenal have made an enquiry to Bayern Munich for Javi Martinez, with Arsene Wenger having made a new central midfielder one of his two key transfer priorities this summer.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender is also prominent among Arsenal’s midfield targets but, with Martinez having struggled to command a regular place in Pep Guardiola’s new Bayern team, Wenger wants to know whether the Bundesliga champions would be willing to sell.

Martinez, who was part of the Spain squad that won both the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship, only joined Bayern two years ago in what was a club record £32 million deal. He still has a further three years remaining on his contract at Bayern but sources in Germany have suggested that the 25-year-old is unhappy with his role under Guardiola.

Since arriving at Bayern, Guardiola has tinkered with the positions of several key players. For example, captain Philipp Lahm has been converted from marauding full-back to holding midfielder. In the case of Martinez, a player who is ostensibly a central midfielder has often found himself deployed in central defence.

Gabriel Pecot/Associated Press

Martinez seems to be missing his midfield role. He is quoted in the Telegraph as saying: “I don’t have as much freedom on the field anymore. I don’t get forward as often and my game is a little more static." 

His versatility would be useful to Arsenal. With Thomas Vermaelen possibly on the way out, the Spaniard could provide vital cover at centre-half. However, Arsene Wenger could offer Martinez what he craves most: a regular spot in central midfield.

Arsenal’s current foremost holding midfielder is Mikel Arteta, who will turn 33 next season and is showing increasing signs of weariness under the strain of Premier League football. Martinez is still just 25, and he is entering his peak. He could boss the Arsenal midfield for the foreseeable future.

Aaron Ramsey and Javi Martinez have all the makings of a formidable midfield partnership. Martinez would bring more physicality to the Arsenal XI than Arteta. According to Squawka, he wins an impressive 72 percent of his aerial duels. Arteta, by contrast, wins just 47 percent of his headed contests.

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 05:  Javi Martinez of Spain in action during the international friendly match between Spain and Italy at Vicente Calderon Stadium on March 5, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Martinez shares Arteta’s neat ability to retain possession. A pass completion rate of 90 percent is not to be sniffed at.

Martinez wouldn’t come cheap, but then world-class footballers rarely do. If Arsenal can snatch the Spanish international away from Munich, they will have strengthened their midfield considerably.

Regardless of his inevitably hefty price tag, Martinez would be a highly astute acquisition for Arsene Wenger.


James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.