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Gelson Martins will not be signing for Benfica this summer, according to the forward’s agent. The 23-year-old is a free agent this summer after terminating his contract with Sporting Lisbon due to safety concerns. Sporting players were attacked at a training session at the end of last season and Martins was among a host of first-team stars to quit the club as a result.
Liverpool and Arsenal have been linked with a transfer move for Martins in the last 12 months, and the Gunners reportedly had an offer turned down for the attacker in January. Recent reports claimed Martins was close to a switch to Sporting’s league rivals Benfica, but those rumours have now been dismissed by his agent. ‘Being the agent of Gelson Martins, I have as a top priority his tranquility, and maximum concentration to be able to do what he knows, professional football,’ Ulisses Santos wrote on Facebook.
‘For this reason, and considering the sports media agenda has been very busy around his future, I come to inform you that Martins’ next club will not be SL Benfica.’ The news will come as a boost to Liverpool and Arsenal who could snap Martins up on a free. Liverpool considered a club-record move for Martins last summer before deciding to go all out on signing Mohamed Salah.
Sporting were demanding £50million for Martins just six months ago, but the Portugal international now has the pick of several clubs vying for his signature. Martins is now free to concentrate on his club future after Portugal were knocked out of the World Cup by Uruguay.