Gelson Martins is very open to the prospect of joining Arsenal this summer, according to reports from Portuguese media.
Sporting Lisbon reportedly rejected €30 million (£26m) bid from The Gunners earlier this month. According to A Bola (h/t Metro), Arsenal have made a second bid of a similar figure, but remain some way off the club’s valuation of the 23-year-old, whose release clause is as much as €60 million (£53m).
The early indications therefore, are that we either need to move onto a target that suits the current budget, or we need Stan Kroenke to stretch the purse strings to trigger Martins’ release clause.
We must hope for the latter, because the Cape Verde-born player would bring pace and width to our side, which would be a valuable commodity. Under Arsene Wenger, we too often shoehorned attacking midfielders and strikers – namely Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Danny Welbeck – into wide positions and thus became too narrow and easy to read; the introduction of somebody who can quickly change the tempo and direction of play would help keep opponents guessing.
If the club decides Martins – who scored 13 goals and laid on a further 13 for his teammates in 52 games last season – is the man to shake things up, then swift action is required. A positive World Cup campaign with Portugal would alert more financially flexible clubs to his talents and thus a move to North London would be less likely.
A number of Sporting players are thinking of the possibility of cancelling their contracts after a section of the club fans attacked them last month at the training ground. However, Martins is not open to exploring this route as it would mean that the club won’t make any money from selling him and also damage the special relationship he has with the majority of the teeming supporters, who have stood by him ever since making his debut in 2014.
To get their man, Arsenal must pay full price.