Barcelona have made an approach to Athletic Bilbao for midfielder Javi Martinez.

Sport says Barca sports chief Andoni Zubizarreta made formal contact with Valencia last week about opening talks over a fee for Martinez.

Athletic's response remains to refer Barca to Martinez's €40 million buyout clause.

The Catalans have €26 million remaining in their transfer kitty after the capture of Valencia fullback Jordi Alba and will have to sell to make up the shortfall.