Jack Beresford weighs up the pros and cons on two of Tottenham’s transfer targets and delivers a verdict on which best suits the Premier League.
With Emmanuel Adebayor underwhelming, Harry Kane still learning and Roberto Soldado better best forgotten, it’s little surprise to see Tottenham linked with a January move for another striker.
Long-heralded as a future Premier League hitman, FC Porto’s Jackson Martinez has emerged as a major Spurs target, amid interest from several other top-flight outfits.
Something of a more leftfield rumour, meanwhile, has surfaced involving Sampdoria youngster Manolo Gabbiadini, who has been linked with a move to White Hart Lane, after making a bright start in Serie A.
But which is the best fit for Tottenham and which of the players is more likely to the next Dimitar Berbatov, rather than simply the new Helder Postiga? We weigh up the pros and cons below.
Jackson Martinez – FC Porto - 28
Pros - A proven goalscorer in Portugal, Martinez was brought to the club to help fill the void left when Radamel Falcao and he has certainly delivered on that promise with a return of 51 goals in 64 Primeira Liga appearances for the Lisbon giants.
Capped 29 times by Colombia, the 28-year-old has scored 10 goals for Los Cafeteros, including a memorable brace against Japan in the group phase of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
A highly skilful player who is capable of doing the acrobatic, when required, Martinez is the kind of out-and-out striker Spurs must have thought they had recruited in Soldado. Can finish with both feet, is good in the air and could be the kind of signing to put Tottenham back on the map in World football.
Cons –Likely to command an exorbitant transfer fee given the hype that has surrounded him at Porto for much of the past three years, the fact remains that Martinez is largely untested outside of Portugal and unlike Falcao does not boast a great scoring record in continental competition.
He has a €30 million release clause in his contract, but a stipulation of this is that it can't be activated in January, so Spurs may have to offer a higher amount even to sway a deal.
He may have grabbed the headlines with a late double-salvo against Shakhtar Donetsk but, prior to that, had managed just eight goals in European competition for the Lisbon side in 21 games played against largely low-ranking sides from across the continent.
At 28, he represents something of the finished article meaning that, should he fail to settle, he will hold little resale value. Possessing a less-than-commanding physique, Premier League defenders are also unlikely to grant him the kind of time and space he enjoys in Portugal.
Manolo Gabbiadini – Sampdoria – 22
Pros- They often say that the mark of a good player is his ability to raise the game of those around him and that certainly rings true of Gabbiadini with Sampdoria riding high in third and just four points of leaders Juventus, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the young striker.
A return of three goals in four league games so far this term is an impressive return and Gabbiadini looks a hungry young player, who is keen to make a mark on the pitch and earn the call-up to the Italy national team he is so desperate for. The kind of diamond-in-the-rough so many big teams across Europe look for.
Can play either centrally or out wide and capable of shooting from distance, the young Italian would also offer Spurs another option from free-kicks as a deadball specialist and is a fast and strong presence in the opposition penalty box. Could also prove a cheaper purchase.
Cons-Undoubtedly lacks the experience of Martinez, who has several prolific years under his belt, it should also be noted that Juventus were only too happy to farm the player out rather than give him an opportunity to impress in Turin.
Not the best passer, Gabbiadini’s rough edges could yet prove to be a curse in the event of any move to the unforgiving Premier League, while it must also be noted that few young players who have shone in Italy have gone on to thrive in England with Fabio Borini the most recent example.
Very much a work in progress, the pressure placed on players in the English top-flight could prove too much for a striker who, in truth, underwhelmed in previous stints with Atalanta, Juve and Bologna and could yet prove to be something of a flash-in-the-pan.
Martinez’s goal record, experience and skill puts him ahead of Gabbiadini, who could prove to be a great Premier League purchase in a couple of years time. Spurs should be wary of paying Porto too much for the Colombian though and should offer Soldado as part of any deal.
Do you disagree? Who would be the best fit for Tottenham?