S.S.C. Napoli sporting director Riccardo Bigon has confirmed the club’s interest in FC Porto striker Jackson Martinez and on-loan Hellas Verona winger Juan Manuel Iturbe.
The Partenopei were keen on signing Martinez last summer but no deal materialised following the arrival of Argentina ace Gonzalo Higuaín from Real Madrid for a fee of £34.5 million.
“A lot was said about Jackson Martinez during the summer but with the arrival of Gonzalo Higuain, things went very well for us,” said Bigon.
“However, I don’t hide that we are interested in him as well as other FC Porto players.
“When it comes to Iturbe we just need to talk with Verona, as they have the option to buy them, we don’t need to talk with FC Porto, but it’s always a pleasure to talk with them, as they know how to run football at a very high level.”
Martinez, whose current contract at the Estádio do Dragão expires in June 2016, is also reportedly attracting interest from English Premier League duo Arsenal and Chelsea, with his long-term future set to be decided after the World Cup finals in Brazil.
The Colombia international, 27, could replace Radamel Falcao as José Pékerman’s No. 1 striker if the Monaco man cannot recover from his knee injury in time for the World Cup.
However, Falcao — priced at 45/1 to win the Golden Boot this summer — hopes to be fit enough to make the trip to Brazil and recently revealed the recovery process is going well.
“I am feeling well and the progress of my knee has been spectacular, I work a bit more each day, my recovery is progressing in a positive way,” Falcao said.
“I hope to recover well and be in the World Cup, although I am focused mostly on my job and this current moment.”
Colombia are the eighth favourites, behind Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Belgium, France and Italy, to win the 2014 World Cup.
Roberto Martinez rules out summer sales
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has insisted the club will not sell their star players if they fail to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, which seems increasingly unlikely due to the recent surge from Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
Leighton Baines and Ross Barkley have been linked with summer moves away from Goodison Park, with Manchester United reportedly interest in both players, while Romelu Lukaku is set to return to Chelsea after another successful loan spell away from Stamford Bridge.
In addition, highly-rated Spain Under-21 international winger Gerard Deulofeu, who has tallied three goals and one assist in 16 Premier League games this season, will return to parent club Barcelona.
“We want to keep every player who is part of our future and has performed well,” said Martinez.
“Financially we are in the strongest moment we have been for a long time.
“I would be worried if we had four or five players performing really well who were out of contract, but most are on long-term deals.”
Will the Toffees been able to keep their top players in the summer?