Transfer: Athletic Bilbao Sign Inigo Martinez To Replace Laporte

Athletic Bilbao have signed Spanish defender Inigo Martinez from Basque rivals Real Sociedad as a replacement for Aymeric Laporte.

Laporte officially joined Manchester City from Athletic Bilbao earlier on Tuesday and the UEFA Europa League (UEL) campaigners have moved swiftly to secure a replacement in Inigo Martinez.

Martinez has signed a five-and-half year deal at the new San Mames until 2023 after Bilbao paid his €32m release clause.

While penning an emotional letter to Real Sociedad, Inigo Martinez said: “A farwell is never easy and less so in these circumstances. I would have liked to do it in person but it’s not possible.”

“I simply write to say THANKS. From when I arrived at La Real at 13 years old, each and every trainer, employee, teammate and friend has helped me grow as a person and as a player. Thank you with all my heart. Of course, thank you to all of you and especially the members of my group for always being there in the good times and the bad. You, the fans, are Real Sociedad.” he continued.

“A new challenge begins for me, but I will go with the peace of mind and certainty of having given everything in every second that I wore this badge. I will always wear it with me.” Martinez concluded.[tps_header][/tps_header]