New Arsenal manager Unai Emery wants to make Sporting Lisbon’s 23-year-old winger Gelson Martins his next summer signing.
Sporting CP apparently rate their man in excess of £60m but according to the Daily Express, Martins could be available on a free transfer this summer.
Emery was believed to already be scouting the Portuguese international and has been alerted by his potential availability. It comes after the Sporting training ground was attacked by their own fans last month because the club failed to achieve a Champions League place after finishing third in the Primeira Liga last season.
A group of around 50 masked men ransacked the ground, hurling projectiles and injuring several first team stars. A number of high profile players including Rui Patricio and William Carvalho are now looking to quit, which has created quite a stir for the Portuguese side.
One of those wantaways is Arsenal target Martins, who allegedly could have his contract torn up following the incident, allowing him to leave on a free. It would be a huge blow for Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho, who has already made some enemies within the squad through his critical use of social media.
Martins has been at the club his entire career having graduated from the academy and scored 18 goals in his first three years with the senior side. He was also a member of Portugal’s 2014 UEFA Under-19 European Championship side that reached the final of that tournament.
Martins has worked his way up to the senior international side as well and will feature for them at the upcoming World Cup in Russia where he’ll have a chance to put himself in the shop window.
Emery sees him as a worthy addition as he looks to bolster his squad for a potential return to the top four. The Spaniard has already signed Stephan Lichtsteiner and is close to completing a deal for Sokratis Papastathopoulos, but is also eager to improve his attacking options.
The potential free transfer would be a huge boost to Arsenal’s chances as Emery is likely to face a reduced transfer budget this summer. Martins may otherwise prove to be too expensive for the north London club as they missed out on any Champions League royalties for the second year running.