Bielsa: Athletic are losing a fantastic player in Martinez

The Argentine trainer has lamented the sale of the 23-year-old Spain international to Bayern Munich, after the deal was officially announced on Wednesday
Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa has mourned the loss of Javi Martinez to Bayern Munich, after the club announced the official completion of his transfer on Wednesday.

The €40 million (£31.5m) signing of the versatile 23-year-old, who can play as a defensive midfielder or centre-back, brings to an end a month-long transfer saga between the Bavarian giants and The Basques.

And speaking ahead of Thursday's Europa League qualifier against HJK Helsinki, Bielsa conceded it was a big blow to lose a player of his calibre.
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He said: "Athletic lose the contribution of a fantastic player, that is the result.

"However, he virtually played no games in pre-season and the team was constructed without him.

The Argentine trainer remained philosophic by adding: "The reality is that the decision is one that everyone knows and only time will tell how it affects him and us."

Bielsa also stressed the importance of not having a bad result in the second leg of their qualifying match against the Finns, though the tie seems a foregone conclusion as the northeners take a 6-0 lead heading into the second leg.

"A good performance does not improve anything, but a bad performance would worsen the situation we are in," said the Bilbao coach.