Premier League duo Liverpool and Arsenal have been handed a major boost in their race to sign former Sporting CP star Gelson Martins, as each club looks to continue an aggressive recruitment drive ahead of the 2018/19 season, as reported by the Express.
Martins, who previously had his release clause set at around £52m, will be available as a free agent this summer after a dispute with Sporting's owner led to him - as well as a contingent of other Leoes stars - terminating their contract's with the club.
Martins, alongside Rui Patricio, Bas Dost, William Carvalho, Bruno Fernandes and Daniel Podence have all moved to have their contracts terminated with the Lisbon club after 50 masked fans attacked the Sporting squad in training.
Subsequently, the highly coveted winger will be available on a free transfer, prompting a host of top clubs to take an interest in Martins' situation.
Liverpool and Arsenal recently emerged as favourites to pen a deal for the 23-year-old Portugal star however, it had begun to look as though the former Sporting man would instead opt to remain in Portugal and sign for Primeira Liga giants, Benfica.
However, Martin's agent was quick to allay any rumours of a switch to Sporting's local rivals. Taking to social media Ulisses Santos opened up on his clients situations, writing: “Being the agent of Gelson Martins, I have as a top priority his tranquility, and maximum concentration to be able to do what he knows, professional football.
“For this reason, and considering the sports media agenda has been very busy around his future, I come to inform you that Martins’ next club will not be SL Benfica.”
With the Liverpool and Arsenal target seemingly being made available once more, the Premier League duo will be keen to add the Portugal starlet to their squad, with the Sporting CP star having scored 13 goals and notched 13 assists from 52 appearances last season.