The Portuguese international has bagged 2 goals and 7 assists in 10 league games this season and his exploits with the Leões has caught the eye of the European elite. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is an admirer of the youngster and is keen on adding him to the Red Devils squad, but he faces competition from a number of clubs including Chelsea and Manchester City who are also determined to secure his services.
When Sporting hosted Real Madrid at the Estádio José Alvalade last night, scouts from Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were in attendance along with the Red Devils' scouts to see the 21-year-old in action.
Sporting’s youth academy has produced a profusion of talent over the years and Gelson Martins is the latest hotshot who has emerged from the Portuguese club’s academy. Following João Mário’s move to Inter Milan over the summer, Martins has been granted regular first-team action and the 21-year-old has seized the opportunity to showcase his talent and establish himself as a regular in Jorge Jesus’ side.
United were interested in signing Renato Sanches last summer but Bayern Munich were more decisive than the 20-time league champions and the German club beat United to his signature in the end. The Red Devils would know they are in for an even tougher battle this time but their association with Sporting might give them the edge over their rivals in the pursuit of the 21-year-old as they have signed Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani from The Leões in the past and the latter was loaned back to Sporting in 2014.
However, luring him away from the Portuguese capital might not be easy as his contract contains a £52million buyout clause and Sporting are keen on signing a new deal with the youngster to increase the buy-out clause.
Martins broke into the senior team last season and his debut campaign saw him make 36 appearances for the club, scoring two goals. The 21-year-old’s preferred position is on the right flank and his pace and trickery make him a delight to watch when he is on the ball. His impressive start to the current campaign was rewarded as he was called up to the national team for the games against Andorra, Faroe Islands and Latvia.
Sporting Lisbon manager Jorge Jesus has already backed the youngster to have a bright future. “In Portugal, there is no one like him, Jorge Jesus said. “Gelson is no longer a promise; he is a confirmation.”