FC Porto striker Jackson Martinez has confirmed that he will not be renewing his contract with the club and is currently being pursued by Valencia, but he has stated previously that he would like to move to the Premier League and has been linked with a €40 million (£32.5m) move to Arsenal.
The Gunners are heavily reliant on the services of France international Olivier Giroud up front. The 27-year-old striker scored 16 goals in the Premier League this season and made eight assists across 36 appearances for the North Londoners. Martinez, also 27, scored 20 goals and made no assists in the Primeira Liga with Porto in 30 appearances, but how do their performance stats stand up against each other in the Champions League?
Giroud made seven appearances for Arsenal in the Champions League, which is the top level of competition in Europe and, therefore, a better platform on which to compare the two strikers. The Frenchman scored two goals and made one assist, while Martinez scored six times and provided two assists. Martinez achieved the greater pass completion rate of 73.4% to Giroud’s 68.2%, and the Colombian averaged 4.3 shots per game to the former Montpellier man's 1.7 on average.
Martinez also won more aerial duels, 3.8 per game on average to Giroud’s 2.9 per game, and completed more dribbles than the Frenchman too - 0.7 per game on average to Giroud’s 0.4 per game. Martinez made more key passes as well - 1.3 per game to Giroud’s 0.3 - and won more fouls for the team with 2.5 per game to Giroud’s 1.9 per game on average.
However, Giroud was dispossessed less often than his Porto counterpart - 2.1 times per game to Martinez’s 2.3 per game - and made twice as many defensive actions as Martinez. In terms of finishing, which is ultimately what a striker is judged on primarily, 43% of Giroud’s shots were on target this term, while only 39% of Martinez’s were - this is surprising low for a player who has scored as many goals as he has in the past.
Martinez scored 20 goals in 30 games this season in the Primeira Liga and averaged a goal every 130 minutes to Giroud’s one every 192 minutes in the Premier League for Arsenal. However, the previous season, Martinez scored 26 goals in 30 games, averaging a goal every 103 minutes.
Overall, it is abundantly clear that Martinez’s all-round game (except perhaps his defensive contribution) is superior to Giroud’s at Arsenal and, as such, the Colombian would represent an astute purchase for the Gunners.