Liverpool have reportedly agreed personal terms with Portuguese target Gelson Martins, who is said to be thoroughly delighted with his proposed contract according to Portuguese newspaper Correio de Manha.
A move to Merseyside would see him earn a supposed £80,000-per-week, which is five times what the winger currently makes at Sporting Lisbon.
As it stands, the real barrier in terms of a successful transfer is the contrasting valuations of the player by each club. Sporting are unwilling to listen to any deal less than his current release clause which stands at £53million, while Liverpool are said to be offering somewhere in the region of half that.
The Portuguese club are hoping to do all they can to keep the electric winger on their books and are looking to offer the 22-year-old an improved and extended deal, while raising his release clause to an astounding £88million, which would surely ward off Liverpool and any other interested clubs.
Having sold Philippe Coutinho for £142m (BBC) to Barcelona earlier this month, it is not as though Liverpool are short on funds. With Sporting looking to raise Martins’ release clause, the Reds should move quickly while they can still capture the youngster for £53million, before the deal is potentially put out of reach.
Martins is extremely versatile. He can operate on both wings and can also hold his own at right-back where he was often deployed in Portuguese youth teams.
With Mohamed Salah attracting interest from Europe’s elite, Martins would no doubt provide suitable cover should the Egyptian leave in the near future.
Liverpool have stated clearly that they view Coutinho’s sale purely as an anomaly and have no interest in beginning a pattern of allowing their top players to leave. However, with Luis Suarez and Phillipe Coutinho as clear case studies, it is evident that no matter how hard you try to keep players it does not always work out that way.
Interest in Salah will only continue to rise if the 25-year-old can carry on his deadly form, and having spent £75million on Virgil van Dijk (BBC), they could sign Martins for closer to what Sporting are seeking and still have money left from the Coutinho deal.