Jackson Martinez is unsure whether his future lies with current club FC Porto beyond the summer transfer window, and Arsenal should move the Colombian striker to the top of their list of targets ahead of the coming Premier League season.
As reported by the Daily Star's Nick Lustig, Martinez told radio station La FM he was aware of interest from several clubs and that he was unsure whether he'd still be playing in Portugal next season:
I do not know what will happen. I have a contract for two more years with Porto and I know there is interest from several clubs. It's normal if a player is playing well, but I have always respected my contracts. Only time will tell what will happen.
The player's agent previously revealed Porto would be willing to listen to offers in the area of £30 million, significantly less than what one might have expected given the Portuguese's reputation in the transfer market.
The 2013-14 season wasn't a successful one for Porto, however, and the club have given some signals of changing things during the summer transfer window. A transfer move for the prolific Martinez couldn't come at a better time, with the payer's value perhaps at its lowest point in the last three seasons.
Some people have pointed at a possible regression for the Colombian international in the past season, but via WhoScored.com, he still scored 20 goals in 30 appearances for a Porto squad that struggled for much of the season.
Those are some impressive numbers, but as reported by Lustig, they're hardly surprising. Martinez netted 60 times in 91 appearances for Porto, and his reputation as a pure scorer is well established.
The forward moves exceptionally well near the box, he has all the athletic tools required and is as opportunistic as they come. He has a good eye for goal, and he regularly scores absolute stunners from well outside the box—evidence of his technical ability.
Simply put, Martinez is a scoring machine, and per the Daily Mail's Richard Arrowsmith, this particular scoring machine told reporters he grew up an Arsenal fan: "As a child I cheered for Arsenal, they play a game that suits me. If I had the occasion to play there, I would say yes."
With Arsenal having just completed a transfer for Alexis Sanchez (this fan tweeted a great photo of the player showing the fans his jersey), the team has already added a player with an excellent track record for scoring goals.
Sanchez can play as a striker in a two-forward system, but with Arsenal, he'll likely see most of his minutes in a wide role behind Olivier Giroud. The French forward is a fine player in his own right, but he doesn't have the kind of nose for goal Martinez or Sanchez have.
The Gunners are trying to transform their attacking unit by adding Sanchez, but that transformation won't be complete until they sign a pure scorer to play in place of Giroud. Martinez is that kind of player, and with his price tag somewhere in the ballpark of £30 million, the Gunners should move now.
Porto aren't negotiating from a position of strength; they finished the 2013-14 season in third place in Portugal, and Martinez has already come forward and acknowledged he'd like to play for Arsenal.
The Portuguese side are set to lose star defender Eliaquim Mangala, as per Goal.com's Duncan Castles, and it doesn't look like the team will be much stronger in 2014-15 than they were last season.
Martinez still has two years left on his deal, as per Lustig, so now would be a good time for Porto to consider a sale. The Gunners would probably be unwilling to pay the full £30 million, but a transfer fee of roughly £25 million would be good value for a proven scorer who would present a clear upgrade over Giroud.
Adding the 27-year-old would complete Arsenal's new-look offensive unit, a group of players that would strike fear into the heart of every defence they face. A transfer for the Colombian makes too much sense for Arsene Wenger not to consider adding Martinez to his ever-improving attack.
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