Just three years ago Jackson Martínez was one of the most in-demand strikers in Europe. After banging in 92 goals in 136 games for Porto, the Colombian forward had the world at his feet. Atlético paid 35 million euros to bring him to Madrid but Martínez failed to settle into Diego Simeone’s system, with then-club captain Gabi noting: “We all saw that Jackson didn’t fit into the squad, because of his way of working.”
After half a season at Atlético that reaped just three goals in 22 appearances, Guangzhou Evergrande threw Martínez a lifeline in exchange for 12 million euros a season. But he would hardly meet expectations in China either, netting just four times in 16 games over a two-year period.
Guangzhou decided to cancel his contract last February and immediately removed all mention of the forward from the club website.
Martínez on the market
Since then Martínez has been searching for a new club without success. A deal was said to be in place with Mexican side León but the club’s sporting director, Rodrigo Fernández, threw cold water on the speculation. “No, no. We talked about it. The president has said there’s nothing in it and the team is fine as it is for now.”
Sporting Lisbon were also touted as a possible destination with the Portuguese giants suffering an institutional crisis and an exodus of players after the ousting of Bruno de Carvalho that followed an attack on the club’s players and staff by a group of ultras at Sporting’s training ground after the side finished third in the Primeira Liga. However, despite the club’s predicament, a move for Martínez as a back-up to Bas Dost was shelved.
At 31 years old, time is not on Martínez’s side, although he does have the advantage of being a free agent. Fitness is a concern though after six months of inaction and it remains to be seen whether there is a club willing to take a punt on the forward rediscovering his Porto form.