BILBAO, Spain Spanish La Liga team Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday announced the signing of Spanish center-back Iņigo Martinez from local rivals Real Sociedad after it bought out his 32 million euro ($40 million) release clause, making him the most expensive Spanish defender in history.
Athletic Bilbao wasted no time replacing its departing center-back Aymeric Laporte, who left for Manchester City for 64 million euros.
The 26-year-old Martinez, who made 205 appearances for Sociedad over seven years, scoring 17 goals, is a fellow left footer and looks to slide into the defensive hole left by Laporte.
Martinez has made several appearances at an international level.
The club said he was contracted until June 2023 and a new buyout clause would be set at some 80 million euros.
Athletic Bilbao and the San Sebastian-based Sociedad are local rivals in Spains Basque region.
Sociedad was currently in 15th place in La Liga, three places behind Bilbao, which has never in its history dropped out of the top flight.