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Sporting Lisbon president Bruno de Carvalho has confirmed that Arsenal target Gelson Martins is one of six of the Portuguese club’s players set to leave for nothing after terminating their contracts.
Goalkeeper Rui Patricio and winger Daniel Podence handed in their resignations last week.
And Portugal internationals Martins, William Carvalho – previously a target for West Ham – Bruno Fernandes, together with Dutch striker Bas Dost, have followed suit by cancelling their contracts.
The resignations follow an incident at the club’s training ground last month in which a group of fans attacked several players in the wake of Sporting’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
De Carvalho told a press conference reported by Record: “We are sorry that Sporting is going through a situation like this, living (in) doubt, uncertainty, anguish.”
The Sporting president said the club had to consider the next move and urged the players to rethink, setting a deadline of Friday for them to commit to remain with the club.
He said: “We have to make a decision, look at Sporting and make a decision. I have not yet entered that of Bas Dost.
“What is in these five letters, and I imagine the sixth one, has no basis at all for just cause. And we are not nuts. We know what we are saying.
“It’s a difficult day for the club, not that these situations were not considered.
“So we want to say that if the six athletes who have rescinded – and more can happen until the 15th.”