Arsenal sit at the top of the English Premier League more than halfway through the league schedule, a feat few thought would be possible in August.
But the Gunners' standing at the top is tenuous, as forwards Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott are both out for at least the next month, as ESPN.co.uk reported via Twitter:
Adding striker depth is thus imperative during the January transfer window, and Arsenal have been linked with numerous forwards in recent days.
However, while a short-term add might be expected, the Gunners could really make a splash by adding Porto forward Jackson Martinez, who has already publicly expressed his desire to join the Emirates, per Transfer News Live on Twitter:
Porto striker Jackson Martínez says he would love to join Arsenal this month as he grew up supporting the Gunners. (Source: Metro)— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) January 5, 2014
In explaining his desire, Martinez told Ben Burrows of the Daily Mail that his fandom arose from an appreciation of the Gunners' playing style:
"I cheered for Arsenal when I was a kid – I love their style of play," he said.
"It’s flowing and open with a lot of first touch passes. It would be suitable for a player like me.
"If I get a chance to play for a high level club like Arsenal I wouldn't hesitate to accept it."
Martinez has scored 12 goals in 14 Portuguese league games this season and would provide an infusion of finishing skill for an Arsenal team desperately needing it after tremendous attrition up front.
It's not hard to understand the value Martinez would provide to the Gunners. The Colombian forward's fast attacks could provide manager Arsene Wenger not only another avenue of offense, but also an additional forward to pair with Olivier Giroud. Many see Martinez's potential addition as a game-changing transaction, like Football Radar's Tom Scott:
Of course, there is the small detail of Martinez's £34 million transfer fee. That is a prohibitive cost, and the Gunners may not want to add another huge salary after splurging for Mesut Ozil last September. If Arsenal do bite the bullet on Martinez, the forward's transition into the offense must be seamless. A painful transition period would not only jeopardize the squad's 2014 Premier League chances, but future ones as well.
Should Arsenal add Jackson Martinez at the reported price?
That's no small bet, but as currently constructed, a small-impact addition will not propel Arsenal over the top. Perhaps the Gunners' chances of a top-four finish would improve slightly with an addition like Dimitar Berbatov, but Arsenal need more if they are to challenge Man City, Chelsea et al. for the title.
Martinez provides them that avenue. Giroud cannot carry the burden himself all season, and even when Bendtner and Walcott return from their injuries, they do not put fear into opposing defenders. Martinez does, and if Arsenal's checkbooks can handle it, they should swing for the fences.