By Nikolai Mende & Clark Whitney
Bayern Munich have made contact with the agent of Athletic Bilbao star Javi Martinez, Goal.com can confirm.
On the back of their second-consecutive season without a title, the German giants are keen to make improvements to their squad. Coach Jupp Heynckes recently hinted that his side could soon be in the market for a new defensive midfielder, and with a windfall on the order of €60 million set to come as a result of their run to the Champions League final, the Bavarians are prepared to offer a considerable sum for Martinez.
The 23-year-old Spain international has a €40m buy-out clause, but his representative agency, Bahia Internacional, confirmed that the stipulation does not apply to potential suitors outside Spain. And despite official denials, numerous Goal.com informants have revealed the contact between Bayern and Martinez.
Bilbao will be reluctant to let go of their World Cup winner, who would be difficult to replace given the club's policy of recruiting only players born in the Basque region. And with Martinez's contract set to run until July of 2016, the Spanish club are in a strong negotiating position.
The San Mames outfit are believed to be willing to listen to offers only in excess of €30m, equal to Bayern's record transfer sum for Mario Gomez.
Martinez has earned seven international caps for Spain since his 2010 debut, and is part of La Roja's Euro 2012 squad. A versatile player, he can be utilised both in midfield and as a centre-back.