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Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Should Only Buy Jackson Martinez for Right Price

PORTO, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 1:  Jackson Martinez of FC Porto in action during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between FC Porto and Club Atletico de Madrid held on October 1, 2013 at the Estadio do Dragao, in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Miguel Riopa/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2014

Although Arsenal need to add a forward during the winter transfer window, they can't afford to be held over a barrel for Jackson Martinez.

Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail reported the Gunners could target the Porto forward in the event Alvaro Morata slips through their grasp:

The Gunners re-opened talks with Real yesterday despite having their previous approaches for Morata rebuffed.

But if the club cannot strike a short-term deal, they are prepared to spend heavily to land a reliable striker.

Colombia striker Martinez, 27, is  a leading candidate, and he is thought to have a £33.2million release clause.

Gooners were heartened when Martinez claimed that he supported Arsenal when he was younger and that he'd jump at the chance to play for the club, per Ben Burrows of the Daily Mirror:

"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."

Since his move to Porto, the 27-year-old's record speaks for itself. In 44 Primeira Liga matches, he has 38 goals—and another five goals in 14 Champions League appearances. He's the next in the line of Porto strikers to thrive in the Estadio do Dragao, like Lisandro Lopez and Radamel Falcao before him, with those two eventually moving on to greener pastures.

If Arsenal have a chance to secure his signature in January, they'd be crazy not to consider it.

Martinez is technically gifted enough to seamlessly fit into Arsene Wenger's attack, and he's got the strength to handle the week-to-week rigors of the Premier League.

The only problem is that reported £33.2 million release clause. That's an awful lot of money to pay for a player who's 27 years old, no matter his talent level. While Martinez is in the prime of his career, that's not going to last much longer. Once he hits 28 or 29, the decline will begin.

In the event the club wants to sell Martinez on, it will receive only a fraction of what it paid for him in the first place.

A more reasonable fee for Martinez is in the £20-25 million range. Sure, it's only £8-13 million we're talking about, but that's something when there are other areas of concern you should look to address during a transfer window.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal at Boleyn Ground on December 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Plus, despite this past summer, there's no reason to expect Wenger to all of a sudden open up the pocket book every transfer window. The Gunners got a bit lucky with the circumstances surrounding the Mesut Ozil transfer. Real Madrid signing Gareth Bale made the German midfielder expendable, and £42.5 million is arguably under what Ozil is really worth.

There's no reason for Arsenal not to continue to find value for money in January.

Wenger may also be loath to sign another player who's 27 years old, after the debacle that was Andrey Arshavin. That illustrated everything that can go wrong with signing a high-profile player who's coming into a new league at that age.

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 21: Diego Costa of Atletico de Madrid walks to the pitch prior to start the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Levante UD at Vicente Calderon Stadium on December 21, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

What Arsenal really need to do is back up the armored truck to the Vicente Calderon to tempt Diego Costa away from Atletico Madrid. With the Spanish club's ongoing European adventures, the likelihood of him coming to the Emirates Stadium is slim to none. But if the club are going to pay £30 million-plus a striker, it should be Costa rather than Martinez.

Mario Mandzukic is arguably a better option as well. He's been fantastic for Bayern Munich, and the impending transfer of Robert Lewandowski will have driven Mandzukic's price tag down.

The Gunners need a striker following the injury to Theo Walcott. The position was thin to begin with, but losing him only exacerbates the issue.

What Arsenal shouldn't do is panic and overspend on a star player during a window that's notorious for producing inefficient transfers.

In the event Porto don't budge on their fee for Martinez, the Gunners should look to add a stopgap striker for the duration of the season and then find a more permanent option during the summer, when more players will be available for somewhat more reasonable fees.

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