Porto have confirmed the signing of Colombian forward Jackson Martínez on a four-year deal, after paying Mexican side Jaguares £7 million for the frontman’s services.
Martínez joins the Portuguese champions following three goal-laden seasons at Chiapas-based Jaguares, even captaining the side in 2012 despite still only being 25-years-old. Having began his career in his home country with Independiente Medellín in 2004, Martínez impressed sufficiently to earn a move to Mexico in 2010, making his international bow for Colombia the year before.
4 goals in just 9 games in his first season in senior football, aged 18, showed Martínez’s potential, and although his strike rate dropped to a goal every four games in the following four campaigns, the forward netted an incredible 20 times in 25 games in 2009 to secure a move to Jaguares.
He maintained his strike rate in Mexico’s top flight, with his 28 goals in 58 fixtures for Jaguares – only founded in 2002 – making him the club’s second-top goalscorer of all time. Described by BBC South American football correspondent Tim Vickery as “an out-and-out goalscorer, a front-to-goal centre-forward who can finish off both feet, and with excellent spring that makes him a threat in the air”, Martínez boasts a frightening combination of speed and aerial ability – he is 6 feet tall – that makes him a real handful for opposition defences.
Although Porto are taking something of a gamble by investing in a forward that has never played European football before, they were not the only club chasing Martínez’s signature: Premier League giants Liverpool had been interested in the forward since March, with Martínez also thought to be on the radar of fellow English top-flight sides Fulham, Everton, Sunderland and Wigan.
However, Porto acted quickly, and were aided by the lack of a language barrier facing Martínez in Portugal compared to England. Jackson will join fellow Colombian James Rodríguez at the club, with Porto’s squad containing a total of 15 South Americans, including the side’s Brazilian captain Hulk.
Martínez’s lack of European experience – combined with the quality of the other attackers on Porto’s books – means that he may not start the 2012-13 Primeira Liga campaign in the club’s starting XI: competition for places is fierce, and Martínez is likely to be behind the aforementioned Hulk as well as Portugal international Silvestre Varela and experienced Austrian forward Marc Janko in Porto’s pecking order.
Although Jackson’s nationality and style of play have drawn comparisons with compatriot Falcao, Martínez has publicly disagreedwith the likening, saying “I hope people will not compare me with Falcao. I am a different type of player, but I promise that I will battle to get goals.”
Porto will certainly hope so – the club sold Falcao for £32 million last season, and, hoping to similarly profit should Martínez prove to be just as successful, the Northern giants have inserted a £31.7 million buy-out clause into their new player’s contract. A poor start in the Premier League next season and Liverpool may be left kicking themselves at what might have been.