According to reports from Calcio Mercato, a host of Premier League clubs are vying for the signature of Gonzalo Martinez with the list including Southampton. The River Plate attacker is expected to leave the club this summer with Premier League seemingly becoming the likely destination.
It is reported that Marcelo Simonian, who represents Martinez, has been travelling across Europe to find a suitable destination for his client.
As a result of which, the Saints have expressed their interest in the River Plate winger, who has been one of the most consistent players in the Argentinian league last season.
Martinez, 25, spent the last three seasons at River Plate, where he has scored 23 goals in 128 matches. His performances in the Argentinian top flight has been impressive too, as he scored 20 goals in just 86 appearances.
Last season, the winger netted six goals whilst chipping in with three assists in 21 matches, ultimately helping Los Milionarios finish eighth in the final league table.
Martinez’s current contract with River Plate expires in 2020 but it is believed that there is a €15m release clause embedded in his contract, making him an obtainable target for most of the European clubs.
Southampton, on the other hand, have been keen to bolster their attacking department this summer following a terrible season. The likes of Shane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini failed to consistently find the back of the net as the Saints narrowly avoided relegation.
However, the newly appointed Mark Hughes is someone who emphasizes on his side’s offensive attributes and thus, Gonzalo Martinez seems like a viable target for Southampton this summer.
As iterated earlier, the Argentine striker has shown a lot of promise during his time with River Plate and despite his relatively young age, he possesses an ample amount of experience. But what makes him an ideal candidate is his versatility in the attacking areas.
Generally tipped as a left-winger, the 25-year-old can also operate as an attacking midfielder as well as a right sided winger, making him a useful component in the final third. The Saints have already boosted their attack by signing Basel custodian Mohammed El Younoussi and the addition of this highly rated Argentine attacker will only beef up their attack as they look to redeem themselves in the Premier League next season.
However, Southampton aren’t the only club vying for his signature. Aside from their Premier League rivals in Everton and Spurs, it is believed Lazio have also shown a keen interest to sign the attacker. Thus, it will be interesting to see how this transfer saga takes shape in the remainder of this summer transfer window.
Stats Courtesy: Squawka