In Focus: Liverpool link to Martins strange when they already have Salah and Mane

According to reports in Portuguese media outlet Correio de Manha, Liverpool are interested in signing lightning-quick Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins, who has a release clause set at €60m (approximately £53.3m), and they are willing to pay him £4.4m-a-year (around £85,000-a-week).

What’s the word, then?

Well, Correio de Manha reports that the Merseyside outfit are keen to sign the exciting 22-year-old as they look to strengthen their squad following the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona this month, and they have identified Martins as a potential addition.

However, Correio de Manha says that while they are prepared to offer him a contract worth £4.4m-a-year (around £85,000-a-week) – five times what he is on with the Portuguese club – they are unwilling to meet the player’s £53.3m release clause and only want to pay around half that amount for him.

The report adds that as the player’s deal isn’t due to run out until 2022, Sporting believe they hold all of the cards.

How has Martins done this season?

He has done very well.

The Cape Verde-born wide-man has scored nine goals and provided a further eight assists in 29 appearances in all competitions, while according to WhoScored.com one of his main strengths is his dribbling ability, and he has successfully completed 48 of the 84 take-ons he has attempted in 23 appearances in Liga NOS and the Champions League this term.

Would he be a good signing for Liverpool?

If the Reds are looking for back-up for the likes of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah then he certainly would be, but there is no way that he would be an automatic starter on the wing if the aforementioned duo were fit.

Martins certainly wouldn’t be classed as the Reds’ Coutinho replacement, and while he has plenty of pace and a decent record of assists and goals, he only really plays on the right-hand side.

Will Liverpool sign him this month?

If the Reds could do a deal that would see them bring Martins to Anfield for the price they want to pay then it could happen, but if Sporting refuse to budge on accepting anything less than the 22-year-old’s clause then no deal will happen before January 31, with a deal more likely to be revisited in the summer.

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