According to Portuguese outlet A Bola, Arsenal have seen a £26m bid for Sporting forward Gelson Martins rejected as their offer is considerably lower than his £39m asking price. The 23-year-old has a release clause of £53m and is believed to have attracted interest from Manchester United and Liverpool.
Martins is one of many Sporting players looking to leave the club this summer after a public row with president Bruno De Carvalho, but it seems unlikely that Arsenal will be bringing him to the Emirates Stadium this summer. New manager Unai Emery has a big rebuilding task on his hands, but is signing a winger that Arsenal don’t need really on his list of objectives?
The Gunners are believed to have just £50m for new recruits this summer, so would they really be spending the majority on Martins? If the Sporting wide-men will cost Arsenal £39m, Emery would have little money left to strengthen a lot of more necessary positions.
The reason Arsenal signed Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus this summer was because he was a free transfer and would provide back-up to Bellerin without breaking the bank. The Londoners have to spend every penny wisely this summer and may only go over their budget if they cash in on existing players.
Arsenal spent over £100m last summer on additions and are currently paying the price. Emery won’t blow the entire budget on one player this summer, nor would Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat and Head of Football Relations Raul Sanllehi allow it, as Martins is far from the finished article and operates in a position that the Gunners are overstocked in.
Martins is a talented player coming off the back of a good season on a personal note, but he would struggle to get into Arsenal’s starting line-up given the competition for places in attack. The 23-year-old may have scored and created 16 goals in 30 Primeira Liga games last season, but he’s unlikely to dethrone Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette from the starting eleven.
The Gunners have an attack to rival any club in the Premier League next season, but their defence and midfield need strengthening. Mislintat has made overhauling the backing a priority, so he’d surely never green-light the signing of Martin for almost all of Arsenal’s budget this summer.
After finishing sixth in the Premier League with 63 points from 38 games last season, Arsenal needed to make big changes. Scoring goals wasn’t too much of an issue, as they were the third-highest scorers in the division but conceding too many at the other end was something the Gunners needed to fix.
In Arsene Wenger’s final campaign, Arsenal shipped 51 league goals, more than any side in the top-seven of the table. Even on home soil, the Gunners conceded more (20) than Manchester City (14), Manchester United (9), Liverpool (10), Tottenham Hotspur (16), Chelsea (16), Newcastle United (17) and Burnley (17), so why would they blow their money on Martins, rather than defenders and midfielders?