Martinez joining Premier League is one of the bets of 2014
After 29 goals for Porto last season, Jackson Martinez has continued where he left off in the current campaign, with 14 goals in 20 appearances.
It has become almost tradition for Porto to sell their biggest talents, with James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho leaving in a €70m double deal to Monaco in the summer, Hulk joining Zenit for €40m in 2012 and Falcao to Atletico Madrid for a similar sum in 2011.
Therefore, a Martinez departure either in January, but more likely in the summer of 2014, is almost a given. A price of 6/5 that he plays in the Premier League at some point in 2014 may prove one of the best bets of the calendar year, with Arsenal and Chelsea at the front of the queue to sign him.
Martinez himself has said that these are the two clubs that he followed as a child and both arguably need strikers to boost their chances of winning the Premier League title.
The only obvious stumbling block is that Martinez has a buy-out clause in the region of £34m, which is on the high side for a 27-year-old that has no real experience in a top league.
Coral have priced up over 30 players from around world football and considered their potential of participating in the Premier League in 2014.
Joining Martinez at 6/5 is Xabi Alonso, who is out of contract at Real Madrid in the summer and is yet to pen an extension.
Madrid are unbeaten since Alonso returned from injury in November and it must surely be in the club’s interest to keep him for at least one more season, with Asier Illarramendi still not totally ready to step into his boots full time.
Despite now being aged 32, Alonso’s midfield know-how and range of passing remains an asset and he has been linked with a return to former club Liverpool.
Real Madrid teammate Iker Casillas is 6/4 to play in the Premier League in 2014 and speculation with Manchester City refuses to go away, while Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa are the same price.
Further down the Premier League betting, Cesc Fabregas and Karim Benzema are 2/1, Angel Di Maria and Diego Forlan are 5/2 and Cristiano Ronaldo 3/1.
Of those at the bigger prices, Mario Mandzukic is an interesting one at 5/1, given that Bayern Munich seem set to sign Robert Lewandowski to spearhead their attack in the summer, while Andrea Pirlo has some appeal at 12/1.
Juventus are sure to begin to phase Pirlo out of the first team soon, with Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio the club’s future midfield.
The fast pace of the Premier League would not naturally suit a Pirlo in his prime, let alone one that will be 35 in May. But his ability to run games and dictate play from deep positions could appeal to the likes of Chelsea.