So Porto have done it, yet again. They’ve yet again managed to sell on one of their stars, for yet again a substantial profit in their real life monopolisation of the worlds talent pools.
The latest high profile export from their world renowned conveyor belt is expected to be Colombia international Jackson Martinez. He is poised to join AC Milan in a deal worth around 25 million pounds, albeit if he passes a medical and the deal runs smoothly.
It is not surprising to see Porto moving along yet another high quality star, given the high profile departures of names such as James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho, Hulk and Radamel Falcao in recent years. But this move does seem quite peculiar, and it was quite a shock when the news broke.
Why Milan? Crippled giants of Europe, currently recovering from a dismal season in Serie A where they finished an embarrassing 10th, 35 points off of champions Juventus. These are the seven times winners of the European Cup, yet next season, there will be no European football whatsoever for the Rossoneri. Currently, the outlook looks bleak for a managerless Milan side and that could be seen as an understatement.
Jackson was a player linked with numerous clubs across Europe’s top leagues, some of which were in next seasons Champions League. One example is Arsenal, who many felt would have been the perfect match for Martinez, with the likes of fellow South American Alexis Sanchez and Spaniard Santi Cazorla to compliment his physical, yet clinical style of play that many believe would be a significant upgrade on Olivier Giroud and maybe transform Arsenal into serious Premier League challengers. Based on such evidence, it seems strange that a player in such demand would reject such a glorious opportunity, to play in one of, if not the biggest league in the world and still be able to showcase his abilities on a continental stage in the biggest club competition of all.
But what about Milan? It is now more a case of when, not if the Porto striker signs and this could be a major turning point for them.
Since Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both departed for Paris Saint Germain in 2012, Milan have spiralled into an abyss, whilst old rivals Juventus haven’t looked back, winning the Scudetto for four seasons in a row and reaching a Champions League final in 2014-15. On the other hand, an 8th placed finish in 2013-14 and last seasons 10th place finale have left alarm bells ringing for Galliani and co.
But Jackson is about to change that.
The signing of such a quality scorer, not only signals the intent to gradually rebuild a new, young Milan side and propel their way back to the top of Italian football, but it shows that they can still attract top talent. Such a signing can stimulate and invigorate sides, similarly to how Mesut Ozil did when he first joined Arsenal, where their fortunes changed significantly and even won away at the Westfalenstadion. 92 goals in 132 games for Porto suggest that Martinez can have a similar effect of Milan, who badly need it.
What’s more is that AC Milan’s signing of Jackson shows that Milan are now down to business. Whilst they have embarked on their dramatic grace from the pinnacle of world football, Milan have spent dramatically less on new signings, and Adriano Galliani has been ridiculed for the huge amounts of free signings that he has had to make with his penny pinching strategies. Whilst the likes of freebies like Jeremy Menez have been quite successful, others such as Keisuke Honda haven’t had such an impact. The budgeting of the Milan board has frustrated fans. The big money signing of Martinez can again show that Milan are on the road to redemption, and are striving to return to where they belong, and aren’t afraid to spend big if they have to.
Whilst it is still a long way on the trail to total stability for AC Milan, the signing of an international goalscorer of Jackson Martinez’s quality is certainly a great starting point, and clearly marks the start of something new for Milan. His goals will be invaluable to Milan who will put everything into the 2015-16 Serie A campaign with the absence of European football. Fans and player alike of the Rossoneri will hope he can form a lethal partnership with Jeremy Menez and “Cha Cha Cha” Martinez can help his new side waltz their way up the Serie A table and back to the top of the tree.