Barcelona are said to be considering meeting the €32m (£29m, $38m) release clause of Iñigo Martinez in order to lure the Real Sociedad centre-back to the Nou Camp. Manchester City, Juventus and AC Milan have also been linked with the Spanish international in recent times but both Marca and Noticias de Gipuzkoa are reporting that La Liga giants could win the race.
Martinez has established himself as one of the best Spanish centre-backs after emerging from the prolific Sociedad academy, which in recent times has produced the likes of Xabi Alonso and Antoine Griezmann.
The 26-year-old made his first-team debut with the Basque side in 2011 and has since become into a mainstay at the heart of the back-line.
The Spaniard has also made four appearances for the national team, including one under current manager Julen Lopetegui during the 2-2 draw against England played at Wembley in November 2016.
Earlier in July, The Sun reported that all Barcelona, Juventus, City and Milan were monitoring his situation ahead of making a move to lure him away from Sociedad.
The Daily Mail insisted earlier this week that Pep Guardiola was still pondering making an approach to sign his compatriot as City are still on the hunt for a new centre-back.
However, it looks that City could face competition from his services as both local publication Noticias de Gipuzkoa and Marca are now reporting that Barcelona also want him and are even considering triggering his clause to complete his signing.
Martinez had already been linked with Barcelona – and also Real Madrid – during his early days due to his special ability to shape the game from the back-line.
The two Spanish publication claims that the La Liga giants could finally enlist services as his signing is a personal request of new manager Ernesto Valverde.
Barcelona have been linked with a number of forwards in recent days as the club are preparing for life without Paris Saint-Germain-bound Neymar. Valverde is also said to be keen to bolster his defence and could use the money generated by Neymar's €222m record sale to pay Martinez's €32m buy-out clause.
Noticias de Gipuzkoa say that Barcelona are now trying to find a replacement for Neymar but, once they fill the gap of the Brazilian, they could focus in the signing of the Real Sociedad talisman.
Barcelona currently have Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Javier Mascherano and Marlon Santos to cover the position, with the latter having been signed from Fluminense this summer after he already played on loan with the reserve team during the 2016-2017 campaign.
However, Mascherano is already 33 years old and Valverde looks still keen to bolster the position further following the release of Jeremy Mathieu.