BARCELONA

Real Madrid and Barcelona in fight to sign Gelson Martins

Real Madrid and Barcelona are reported to be in a tug of war over Sporting Lisbon star Gelson Martins. Mourinho's Manchester United are also keen.

Gelson Martins being watched by Madrid and Barcelona

There's no doubt that Gelson Martins is going to be one of the stars causing serious interest in the next transfer window. His explosion onto the Champions League scene and subsequent performances have seen some big names looking enviously at the Sporting Lisbon star.

And today, Wednesday, A Bola named some of the teams eagerly eyeing up the young Portuguese player. Eternal Spanish rivals Real Madrid (who tried to sign him two years ago) and Barcelona are at the head of the queue to make off with Martins, closely followed by Manchester United.

Gelson Martins in action.

Gelson Martins expected to renew at Sporting Lisbon

Martins is however expected to renew his deal at Sporting Lisbon, given that he has a 60 million buy-out clause but is on an incredibly low wage, just 120,000 euros a year. A remarkably tiny amount for a player at the top level. 

And Martins himself has played down talk of a move: "Interest from Real Madrid, Barcelona and United? I don't know anything about that, I'm not even thinking about it. I've a contract to 2021 and I'm focused on Sporting". 

Real Madrid keen on Gelson

But despite Martins' assurances, the fight for his services is most definitely on. Real Madrid are possibly the keenest to make a move, but everything will depend on what happens with the club's transfer ban. In principle the club won't be able to sign players for the next two transfer windows (this coming winter and next summer), but at present the CAS has suspended the sentence, awaiting appeal. It remains to be seen whether the court will pass judgement before the next transfer window, and if they do whether they reject or accept the appeal.

Barcelona confirm interest in Gelson Martins

Meanwhile Barcelona have confirmed their interest in the player, in the words of their international advisor Ariedo Braida: "We are keeping Gelson Martins under observation. He's a young player with lots of talent, who Barcelona has been keeping an eye on and will continue to do so. Barcelona is aware of what's going on in... Portuguese football and I can't hide that Gelson Martins is one of the players we're looking at".  

That said Braida attempted to calm talk of an instant move for the player. When asked about an attempt to sign him in the winter transfer market he said: "Not at all! Calm down! We're just watching, but we haven't even spoken to anyone about Gelsen. For now we're just watching. Later we'll see". 

That said, keep an eye on Martins in the coming transfer window...