Barcelona are reportedly set to rival Liverpool in to land Gelson Martins from Sporting Lisbon in the summer.

Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that Gelson Martins is the subject of interest from Barcelona, who are set to make a move for him in the summer transfer window. Liverpool are also interested in signing the Sporting Lisbon winger.

Martins progressed through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon before making the grade in the first-team setup at the club in 2015. Since then, the player has grown by leaps and bounds to establish himself as a key figure for the Verde e brancos, while also being a full-fledged member of the Portugal national side.

2016/17 turned out to be a highly fruitful season for Martins even as Sporting only managed to finish 3rd in the Liga NOS table, as he scored 7 goals while providing 14 assists in 44 appearances across all competitions for his side.

His stellar performances have now caught the attention of some of the biggest clubs in the world who are set to make a beeline for him this summer. And Barcelona and Liverpool have emerged as the two front-runners in the race to sign the 22-year-old.

Flying high. (Photo courtesy - Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images)
Flying high. (Photo courtesy – Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona are seeking reinforcements across various positions in the summer transfer window. Ernesto Valverde does not have many reliable options to choose from beyond the fabled MSN trio in attack, with Paco Alcacer and Arda Turan blowing hot and cold this season.

Therefore, attack has been identified as a summer priority for the Blaugranas, and the Barcelona boss has now set his sights on Martins as a possible reinforcement. However, they must usurp Liverpool in their bid to land the Portugal international, with the Reds already in talks with Sporting over a possible transfer.

Jurgen Klopp, too, is looking to beef up his squad this summer, after depth – or the lack of it – proved to be his side’s undoing in the race to win the Premier League title this season. Attack is one of his priorities and with Philippe Coutinho touted to move to a deeper playmaking role, a position is open on the wings.

Martins is, thus, being eyed as the perfect pacy outlet to complement the electric Sadio Mane on the opposite flank, with Coutinho setting the duo up from the centre of the park. The player’s work rate and pressing makes him an ideal player for the Liverpool boss to recruit this summer.

As far as Martins is concerned, a move to Liverpool will aid him better in his development as a winger, as he is likely to establish himself in the first-team setup at Anfield almost immediately. On the other hand, the youngster will most likely have to play second fiddle to the MSN trio at Barcelona – not ideal for his progress at this stage of his career.

The player has a €60 million release clause in his contract with Sporting but it is believed that the club is prepared to begin negotiations at €50 million. The sum is unlikely to stop either of his suitors in their tracks, and it remains to be where Martins heads off to this summer.

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