Liverpool are reportedly considering Sporting winger Gelson Martins after being priced out of a move for AS Roma and Egypt forward Mohammed Salah.
The 22-year old Portuguese has been compared to Luis Figo by the legend himself so he could become an Anfield star for years to come under the watch of Jurgen Klopp.
The Cape Verde-born Portugal international made his debut for the Sporting first team on 14 August 2015, coming on as an injury-time substitute against CD Tonleda. The 22-year old winger plays mainly on the right but can play on both sides and even has some experience as a right back with the Sporting and Portugal youth sides. He moved to Portugal in 2008 as a 13-year old and spent two years with CF Benfica before moving to the Lions in 2010. Martins is a speedy winger who loves to dribble past players and create chances for his teammates.
Martins, who is valued at £12.75m by transfermarkt.com, had a solid first season for Sporting in 2014-15, scoring seven goals and assisting four in 43 games across all competitions but broke into the international spotlight this past season. The winger again scored seven goals, six in the league, and racked up 14 assists to lead the Primera Liga.
He played in 44 of Sporting’s 47 games last season including each of their Champions League group games. While he didn’t create any goals in the competition, his performance against champions Real Madrid at the Bernabeu drew the European Champions’ attention.
Martins has all the talent to become a key player for Portugal and thoroughly impressed across the youth squads. The 22-year old scored 13 goals in 36 appearances for teams between the U19 and U23 level and represented his adopted nation at both the 2014 U19 Euros and the 2015 U20 World Cup. He made his senior debut last October in a World Cup Qualifier against Andorra and has appeared in four of the five internationals since.
Martins’ potential talent has long been known, so much so that his first professional Sporting contract had a €45million release clause in it.
Sporting signed the winger to a contract extension in February that has an eye-watering €60m release clause, which could reportedly fall to €50m with Sporting’s failure to directly qualify for the Champions League group stage.
While that is still around the fee that Roma are holding out for with Salah, a player who is two years younger, has been linked to Real Madrid and Barcelona and hasn’t struggled in the Premier League once before could be a much more appealing signing for Jurgen Klopp’s squad.