Despite all the talk of turmoil because of the managerial change and reportedly low funds available for new signings, it looks like Arsnenal are off and running when it comes to this summer’s transfers. They have confirmed the arrival of Stephan Lichtsteiner form Juventus, they have agreed deals for Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund and Lucas Torreira from Samdoria, they are in advanced talks to sign goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen. On top of all that, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has just signed a new contract.
And now, according to Sky Sports, the Gunners have joined the race to sign Gelson Martins from Sporting Lisbon.
A month ago, around 50 radical fans invaded Sporting’s training grounds and assaulted the players and the staff. This was the last (and biggest) in a line of events that drove several players, including Martins, to start proceedings to have their contracts terminated. If they get their way, it would mean they would be up for grabs for free, and Arsenal are keen on taking advantage of the situation. However, there will be other clubs interested in getting the best out of Sporting’s misery for themselves, and Martins is sure be a target for many. Arsenal need to be smart enough to come out on top.
Martins is an extremely talented winger, and even though the Gunners’ front line seems fine the way it is, signing the 23-year-old on a free is definitely an opportunity too good to pass. In just over three seasons (he spent most of 2014/15 playing for Sporting B), he made 125 appearances and scored 25 goals for the Lisbon club.
At the moment, Martins is in Russia with the Portuguese national team along with some of the other Sporting players that are also having their contracts cancelled, as they prepare to take on Spain in their World Cup opener on June 15.