Chelsea and Arsenal target: I could have joined Napoli in the summer

Porto striker Jackson Martinez has admitted that he had the opportunity to move to Rafa Benitez’s men over the off-season.

With both Chelsea and Arsenal in the market for a new striker, one name that repeatedly gets linked with a move to the Premier League is Jackson Martinez.

The Colombia international has been a revelation at the Estadio do Dragao since moving to Europe from Chiapas in July 2012, and scored an amazing 34 goals for Porto in their domestic title success last term.

With the Portuguese club the breeding ground for other top international strikers in the recent past such as Radamel Falcao and Hulk, the South American has been linked with switches to Europe’s top leagues.

Martinez has admitted that he had the option to jump ship in the summer, with Napoli a key suitor.

"It is true, I admit it,” the Colombian told O Jogo. “Last summer Napoli wanted me and they were quite insistent.

“Porto, though, didn’t want to sell me and they made it clear that they wanted to keep me here.”

Porto have always been a club that are willing to sell their star players if the price is right, and although they rebuffed Napoli’s approaches, if Chelsea or Arsenal bid enough they could certainly land Martinez.

However, it is interesting to consider what would have happened had Martinez been allowed to move to Naples before the season started.

The San Paolo side beat Arsenal to the signing of Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain in the summer, but had they signed Martinez instead, the former Real Madrid marksman could well be wearing the red and white of the Gunners right now.

How this would have impacted on the amount of playing time that Olivier Giroud has seen this season remains to be seen.

In the future, Chelsea look more likely to sign Martinez as they look for a world-class striker to lead their line, with Jose Mourinho’s links to his former club sure to help.

Arsenal need a striker also, but are unlikely to splurge to bring someone of Martinez’s stature to the Emirates Stadium, and may look for a more-affordable understudy to Giroud instead.

image: © dioxido

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