Liverpool to lose race for Spanish international

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Liverpool look set to miss out on Spanish international Javi Martinez.

The Athletic Bilbao youngster has impressed in La Liga after making his debut in 2006, and both Liverpool and Manchester City have been linked with a move for the 21-year-old.

It is reported that the Citizens are now favourites to land Martinez, with Mancini monitoring the former Osasuna midfielder for several months after admiting his interest in the player.

The Basque side paid €6 million for a then 17-year-old in four years ago, and Martinez instantly forced his way into Athletic's side in his first season at the club.

With over 150 appearances to his name, Martinez has experience in abundance and was linked with a move to Anfield last summer.

Rafa Benitez never made his move, and could now be priced out of the market for the versatile star with City reportedly ready to meet a buy-out clause in the player's contract.

The Daily Mail reports that Mancini could splash out around £18 million for the Spanish U21 skipper, who has forced his way into the national side for the World Cup in South Africa.

Benitez is expected to try and use his Spanish contacts in an effort to persuade Bilbao over a move to Merseyside, but the financial might of City could be too much for the Reds.

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