West Ham United manager David Moyes must ponder the option of re-signing Spanish striker Toni Martinez, who is now flourishing with FC Porto after he left the east London club on a free transfer in 2019.
According to prominent Portuguese publication A Bola (via Sport Witness) a host of clubs have been put on alert following the Spaniard’s rich vein of form, with a recent Portuguese Cup hat-trick against Arouca an emphatic stamp.
Waxing lyrical about Martinez’s skills to A Bola, Terry Westley stated that a number of Premier League clubs might turn in the 25-year-old’s direction following such scoring feats.
The former West Ham youth coach said: “I remember that aggressive desire to score goals. He was always ready to fight and try to score, he believed that he would be judged by the number of goals at the end of the season.
“If he continues to score goals at that volume at FC Porto, I think it’s inevitable that he’ll play more often at the start and be aware that there are many top-level clubs looking for young scorers. Toni is 25 years old and he’s still young, so he has every chance to be a top striker at a big club.”
Four years ago, the 25-year-old penned a deal with Portuguese outfit Famalicao, scoring 14 goals across 40 outings before signing for Porto in 2020, where he has gone on to make 93 appearances and has plundered 24 goals and three assists.
Having scored nine goals this season from just eight starts across all competitions, Martinez has already bettered his previous campaign with the Portuguese giants, when he netted seven times in 37 games.
While plying his trade with the Hammers in the maiden stage of his career, Martinez spent the lion’s share of his time on the club’s books cast out on loan deals, with his three senior appearances for West Ham all coming in the FA Cup, with one assist to show for it.
However, having netted 25 goals from 29 appearances for West Ham’s U21s, the foundation for a prolific career was cemented from the off, and he has been developing his ability and making incremental gains to his game with each passing year.
As per FBref, the imposing talisman ranks among the top 1% of strikers in Europe’s major leagues for total shots and touches in the attacking penalty area, and within the top 11% for aerials won, illustrating the formidable presence that he could bring if he returns to the London Stadium.
The time might be right for Moyes and West Ham to acknowledge the club’s mistake in letting such a blossoming talent slip from their grasp in 2019. With the Irons lacking any great goal threat (they’re the Premier League’s joint-second lowest scorers), Martinez could bring the spark that’s needed to truly ignite this stagnating team.