Liverpool face new fight to land Spanish starlet

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Liverpool could face a transfer battle with Manchester City this summer in the race to land Spanish youngster Javi Martinez.

The Athletic Bilbao youngster has been on Rafael Benitez's for some time, and the Liverpool boss was reportedly considering a bid for the player last summer.

Martinez welcomed the interest back in the summer of 2009, saying: "Any player would want to be part of such a good squad."

A deal never materialised however, and now other clubs are reportedly showing an interest in Los Leones' talented youngster.

Signed for €6 million in 2006, Martinez made the switch from Osasuna to the Basque club without playing a senior game at the Reyno de Navarra stadium in Pamplona. He became a regular in his first season at San Mamés, and has since made well over 100 league appearances for the La Liga side.

The Spanish U21 international helped Bilbao to the Spanish Cup final in 2009, and his form on that run played a large part in the speculation of a move to Anfield.

Valued at £10 million in the summer, it has recently been reported that City are considering preparing a £26 million bid to meet the buy-out clause in Martinez's contract.

If Mancini does make the move, the Reds will be unable to match the financial muscle at City and lose out in the race to sign one of the hottest properties in Spanish football.

However, the player's previous admission about playing football for Liverpool will leave the Reds with half an eye on a potential summer move. With the additional interest, a bid in the region of £15 million might be needed to prize this starlet from his homeland.

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