Is Arsenal Target Jackson Martinez The New Falcao?

After an impressive season at FC Porto, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez has attracted the attention of a number of European clubs but is he good enough for Arsenal?
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After an impressive season at FC Porto, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez has attracted the attention of a number of European clubs but is he good enough for Arsenal?

Is Arsenal Target Jackson Martinez The New Falcao?

Following his move to Porto from Mexican side Jaguares last summer, Jackson Martinez - nicknamed 'Cha-Cha-Cha' due to his dancing celebrations - wasted little time announcing his arrival to the rest of Europe with 10 goals in his first 11 games for the Portuguese giants.

The forward maintained his scintillating form for much of the season and his goal record, embellished by his penchant for a spectacular finish, has reportedly got the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool sniffing around northern Portugal.

It's not hard to see why: recent analysis by Portuguese soccer daily O Jogo showing that Martinez has scored over 40% of his side's goals this season - a greater percentage than any of his predecessors in the past 10 years.

Given that Martinez is following in the footsteps of the likes of Lisandro López, fellow Colombian Falcao and Hulk at the Estadio do Dragao, that is no mean feat.

All told, Martinez bagged 34 goals in 39 appearances this season - a gargantuan haul that has spiked the interest of Europe's biggest and richest clubs.

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Galatasaray and Anzhi Makhachkalaare reportedly ready to throw their hats in the ring for Martinez and fees upward of £35million are being bandied about.

For a player with only one season in Europe under his belt, such figures seem a trifle high: has he really entered that bracket of superstardom so quickly?

There is little doubt that the prolific 26-year-old has a rake of statistics on his side. He scored 65 goals in 102 appearances for Independiente Medellin in Colombia (2004-09), before bagging a further 36 in 64 starts at Jaguares (2010-12).

What is eye-catching with Martinez is the array of goals he scores. He scores all sorts: his first clutch of goals at Porto including dinked penalties, backheels, bicycle kicks, thumping headers and nerveless one-on-ones.

In this respect he shares similar traits to his international colleague Falcao, who is regarded by many as the complete modern-day centre-forward.

As former Colombia coach Leonel Alvarez, when interviewed by O Jogo, succinctly put it: “Jackson and Falcao are two players with completely different assets, but in one aspect they are exactly the same – they both score lots of goals."

There is no doubt that Martinez is a formidable and imposing forward who can lead the line alone, tie up defenders and still score goals. He is well balanced, comfortable striking the ball with either foot and a born predator in the box.

However, there are areas of Martinez's game that are either lacking or require a little polish.

The most obvious shortcoming that can be levelled at the Colombian is a lack of searing pace. Although by no means slow, Martinez is  unlikely to make up yards on defenders and nip in behind top-level back lines.

What is also becoming evident is that Martinez depends on quality service and is unlikely to create chances himself.

The likes of James Rodriguez and João Moutinho have created many of Martinez's goals at Porto and opponents - notably Sporting Braga in their 1-0 Portuguese Cup victory over Porto - have enjoyed notable success flooding the centre of the park and choking Martinez's supply line.

In terms of temperament too, the jury may still be out. As with all strikers, Martinez thrives on confidence and his swaggering start to the season underlined what a dangerous player he is when things are going well.

However, Porto look set to surrender their title to Benfica and Martinez hasn't looked quite the same player since the turn of the year - an embarrassing 'Panenka' penalty miss against Rio Ave knocking his confidence to the extent that he publicly apologised to Porto fans for taking such a risk.

Perhaps the biggest example of Martinez going AWOL when needed came in Porto's disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Malaga. Martinez played in both legs of the last-eight tie, but - with Moutinho injured in the second leg and Porto's midfield stymied - didn't cause the dogged Spaniards many problems at all.

There is no doubt that Martinez is a natural goalscorer who is likely to make an impact at any club he may choose to join this summer.

However, his tendency to occasionally 'go missing' will be a concern for potential employers and I would wager that he will fall some way short of emulating the sustained excellence of his compatriot Falcao.

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