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Man Utd set to hijack Roma move for Colombia hotshot

| 22.04.2014

The general consensus within football is that Manchester United will spend like drunken sailors this summer, and a £40m chunk of their transfer wedge may be heading Porto’s way for striker Jackson Martinez.

United – 19/10 to win on the road for the fifth game running in the Premier League at Everton – have been tracking Dragoes stars Martinez and defender Eliaquim Mangala for some time and boss David Moyes was present at Porto’s Portuguese Cup semi-final away to Benfica recently.

The Scot could have been scouting up to six players at the Estadio da Luz, with United also linked with Primeira Liga prospects Fernando, Ezequiel Garay, Alex Sandro and Guilherme Siqueira since Moyes took charge.

Reports emanating from Italy previously suggested that Martinez – who’d previously been linked with Spurs, Arsenal and, most prominently, Chelsea – had agreed to join the Giallorossi at the end of the campaign, with the clubs left to haggle over a fee.

However, Porto are said to be holding out for the £40m figure stipulated in the 26-cap Colombian’s buyout clause, while comments attributed to Martinez’s agent, William Lara, strongly indicate that Roma are unlikely to stump up the full amount.

This has led to speculation that United are now in pole position to secure the services of a player with a near-identical Primeira Liga strike rate to the goals-per-game ratio his international teammate Radamel Falcao – who moved to Monaco from Atletico Madrid for £50m last summer – achieved during his two terms at the Estadio do Dragao.

Martinez has bagged 44 goals in 57 Portuguese top-flight matches since arriving in Europe from Colombian side Chiapas in 2012, compared to Falcao’s 41 strikes in 51 league appearances for Porto between 2009-12, so the Red Devils may feel £40m for the 27-year-old represents reasonable value.

Ladbrokes rate Everton’s chances of doing the double over old gaffer Moyes in his first season at Old Trafford at 6/4, with the draw 12/5.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune