Barcelona Reportedly Interested in Sporting CP Winger Gelson Martins

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2017

Sporting's Portuguese forward Gelson Martins (L) vies with Belenenses' French midfielder Florent Hanin during the Portuguese league football match Sporting CP vs Os Belenenses at the Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on December 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCISCO LEONG        (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona are reportedly monitoring Sporting CP winger Gelson Martins and will keep a close eye on him when the two sides meet at the Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

According to Sport's Didac Peyret, the Catalan giants are among several parties including Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United that are interested in Martins, who has a €60 million release clause.

When Sporting take on Barca on Tuesday, Blaugrana boss Ernesto Valverde will be watching to see if Martins is worthy of the attention he has received.

Barcelona are said to have passed on the chance to snap up the 22-year-old as a youngster when they opted to sign Edgar Ie and Agostinho Ca from Sporting, but the pair made just one senior appearance for the club between them.

Martins had an excellent campaign last year and showed himself to be a reliable contributor in the final third, per Squawka Football:

After the campaign, the Portugal international expressed his desire to remain at the club, per Portuguese football writer Jan Hagen:

That could potentially all change if Barcelona were to come calling.

He has carried last year's form into this season and has six goals and as many assists in all competitions, which includes an assist in both of Sporting's Champions League clashes with Juventus.

Martins is blessed with blistering pace, but he doesn't just rely on that to show his opponents a clean pair of heels. His technique is excellent, and his combination of the two attributes makes him an impressive dribbler.

Sporting's official Twitter account provided evidence to show as much:

That kind of technical ability could see him fit in well at the Camp Nou, and it will be intriguing to see how he gets on there, having given Marcelo a torrid time last year when his side faced Real Madrid.

Unless the Primeira Liga outfit are prepared to accept less than his release clause, though, signing him will require fairly significant investment for any of the interested parties.

Martins is an excellent prospect, but he'll need to keep shining both domestically and in Europe if he's to justify that kind of price tag.