Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Jackson Martinez hints at January switch; Mertens wants Vermaelen at Napoli

FC Porto striker Jackson Martinez has revealed he would be open to playing in England, Germany or Spain ahead of the January transfer window.

FC Porto striker Jackson Martinez has revealed he would be open to playing in England, Germany or Spain ahead of the January transfer window, Sky Sports understands.

Martinez, 27, joined Porto from Liga MX side Jaguares de Chiapas in a deal worth $11 million in July 2012.

Since arriving at the Estádio do Dragão, the Colombia international has exceeded his own expectations, netting 47 goals in 65 appearances in all competitions for the Portuguese Primeira Liga giants.

Recent reports have linked Martinez with a January move to the English Premier League, with Chelsea the favourites to win the signature of the highly-rated front-man.

“Where would I like to play?” Martinez told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “When I was a child I rooted for Chelsea and Arsenal.

“I think the best championships are La Liga, the Premier League and Bundesliga, which has grown much in recent years.

“But I also really like Serie A and have many friends in Italy.”

Martinez, whose current deal expires in the summer of 2016, has a £34 million release clause in his contract.

“My £34 million buy-out clause seems a huge amount,” added the 27-year-old ace.

“In one year my value has exploded. I did not expect to do so well.”

Mertens wants Vermaelen at Napoli

S.S.C. Napoli winger Dries Mertens has revealed he has attempted to lure Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen to the Stadio San Paolo on several occasions this season.

Until recently, Vermaelen, 28, has been surplus to requirements at the Emirates Stadium, with manager Arsene Wenger favouring the centre-back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.

However, an injury to Koscielny (knee) forced Wenger to give Vermaelen his second start in the Premier League against Chelsea on Monday evening.

Koscielny could return to the starting XI against West Ham United on Thursday, which could mean a return to the bench for the Gunners’ captain.

“I have already told Vermaelen to come to Napoli 10 times,” Mertens told Belgian newspaper Knack.

“The city is magnificent and even Benitez asked me to convince Vermaelen to come here.

“But Arsenal is a great club and it won’t be so easy for him to leave.”

Mertens, who joined Napoli from Dutch Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven for a fee of  €9.5 million in the summer, has bagged two goals in 20 competitive appearances for the Partenopei this term.

Napoli will play host to 14th-placed Sampdoria at the Stadio San Paolo on Monday, January 6 2014.

Napoli (4/11); Sampdoria (7/1); Draw (15/4)


Shawn Etemadi



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