Special Bilbao era could end if Man United target Javi Martínez leaves

Sharethematch.com looks at Bayern's interest in Javi Martínez, and how his exit could trigger an exodus at Bilbao

sir alex ferguson
Sir Alex is reportedly interested in Javi Martinez Photo: The Sport Review

sir alex ferguson

Martínez departure is cue for others to leave Bilbao

Javi Martínez is reportedly set to snub interest from the Premier League and join German giants Bayern Munich – but more disheartening than the fact we will not see him in England next year is that this looks like the first step towards the breakup of Athletic Bilbao.

The Basques assembled a swashbuckling side under Marcelo Bielsa that embarrassed Manchester United in the Europa League before succumbing to Atletico Madrid in the final.

They also reached the final of the Copa Del Rey where they swatted aside by Barcelona .

The players were in tears at the full-time whistle in the Europa League showpiece in Bucharest – it was great to see such an honest group who wanted to win silverware so badly for their fans, who are some of the most fervent and respectful in the world.

But perhaps the tears were also because they knew they might not get another shot together – this was the swansong of Bilbao’s best team in years.

If Martínez does walk out of the door then what is stopping the likes of the similarly gifted Fernando Llorente and Iker Muniain following suit?

It is perhaps inevitable that this trio will all leave one day but let’s hope they stick together for another year or two at least and have a good crack at making it into the Champions league.

Sadly sentiment plays no part in the coldhearted business that is football and it would be no surprise to see big money moves transpire for all three.

Cole has won over his critics

It did not look good for Ashley Cole when he moved from Arsenal to Chelsea in 2006, amid rants about how little his former pay masters offered to retain his services.

The 31-year-old picked up a rather insulting nickname after it was revealed how much the defender would earn at Roman Abramovich’s Blues.

Regardless, Cole is, has been, and will be for as long as he continues playing at the top level, England’s most consistent player.

He may have all the money in the world but he knows the value of his privileged position, and it is no fluke of nature that he has avoided injures and dips in form throughout his career.

The 31-year-old clearly looks after himself very well and that comes from having a respect for who pays his wages.

With 97 caps to his name, which hopefully will morph into a century at this tournament and who is to say it is not possible? It is time to start berating the anti-Cole brigade for not appreciating a good thing when it comes along.

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