With Porto confirming that striker Jackson Martinez is gearing up to join AC Milan in a shock transfer move, many are surprised enough he turned down a number of clubs qualified for Champions League play to instead make the switch to Italy.
But there’s a wrinkle to the story making things much more interesting.
According to a report in Italian media outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, the 28-year-old was advised by fellow Colombian Falcao not to go to Manchester City, who were reportedly heavily interested in bringing Martinez to the Etihad and could offer him a higher salary than AC Milan.
But Falcao, who struggled in a loan move to Manchester United, told Martinez that moving to Manchester isn’t worth the extra money, and that he should make the switch to Italy instead. London club Arsenal was also rumored to be involved.
“Before going on holiday Jackson announced he wanted to leave,” Porto president Pinto da Costa told Portuguese media on Friday. “The €35m [release] clause is not up for debate and must be paid. I learned just now that Jackson has chosen Milan. This is what he wants, the destination is irrelevant as far as I am concerned. I want him to be happy.”
Martinez was one of the most sought-after players this summer after scoring 21 goals in 30 league matches for Porto this past season, and bagging 32 in 42 across all competitions including seven in eight Champions League appearances. He was under contract with Porto through the summer of 2017, but that $39 million release clause had many teams salivating.