What’s the story?
As per reputed Spanish daily Sport, Manchester United are all set to beat Barcelona to the signing of Sporting Lisbon’s flying winger Gelson Martins. While Liverpool were also interested, it appears the more concrete interest was from the Manchester-based side. As per reports, though, Jose Mourinho’s side are in the lead and are all set to table a €38 million bid for the winger who is comfortable on either flank.
In case you didn’t know…
The 22-year-old has been dubbed one of the leading stars of the emerging generation of Portuguese players and he’d impressed greatly in the Champions League this past season. Born in Cape Verde, the tricky winger first signed up for Benfica’s youth system before moving on to Sporting’s junior ranks.
He then played a season for Sporting B in the Segunda Liga (scoring 6 in 40 appearances) before making it to the first time in 2015-16 where he’s become a regular fixture (scoring 14 in 87 along the way). While calling him the next Ronaldo might be a bit too much, he is no Bebe… and has all the ingredients in place to be the next big superstar.
A versatile footballer he’s also comfortable at right-back – the position in which he sealed his place in the Portuguese national junior team.
The heart of the matter
His versatility and composure on the ball are traits that Mourinho holds dear in his footballers and United have the natural advantage of being the honing ground of Cristiano Ronaldo. Besides, United’s history with wingers and traditional emphasis on flanks – something that Mourinho isn’t keen on losing – gives United the edge over a Barcelona side that have no use for wingers.
Barcelona might actually be keen on Martins to play him as an attacking full-back and that may not exactly be what the Portuguese is looking for as he looks to join the list of great wingers his nation have produced over the years.
Gelson Martins is a joy to watch when in full flow:
He would go a long way with that unique combination of Mourinho’s tutelage and Old Trafford’s immortal love for a tricky winger.