Gelson Martins

Gelson Martins
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Monaco’s Martins suspended six months for shoving referee (video)

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Gelson Martins is learning a costly lesson after shoving a referee last month.

Martins has been suspended for six months by the French league for a Feb. 6 incident in which he pushed referee Mikael Lesage, who had sent off teammate Tiemoue Bakayoko.

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The 21-times capped Portuguese winger, 24, will not be eligible to return to AS Monaco until July 1.

Suspensions for physical incidents with referees will almost always be harsh given the importance of the position in the sport and the freedom necessary to do their jobs. There’s also increased focus on protecting referees in recent years.

Referees in Berlin protested increased incidents of violence earlier this year, while Franck Ribery and Neymar have both been suspended for making contact with officials. In 2014, an American referee was killed after a player punched him in the face after a red card incident. The player was sentenced to eight years in prison. A lower-league playoff match in the U.S. was abandoned this Fall after a referee was punched by a coach.

Martins left Sporting Lisbon for Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2018, going on loan to Monaco after a half-season. Monaco purchased him Atleti last summer.

He has eight goals and three assists in 37 league matches for Monaco over parts of two seasons. Martins leads the team in dribbles per game (2.4) and is averaging 1.3 key passes per contest via WhoScored.

In other words, it’s a big loss.

Monaco sits seventh in Ligue 1, six points back of the European places.

Transfer rumor roundup: James to Spurs, Martins to Newcastle

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Tottenham Hotspur reportedly want more than $100 million to sell Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid, but Los Galacticos have something else in mind to lower the price.

Spurs would get Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez as part of a deal, says AS, though the player’s star has fallen in recent years.

[ MORE: Barca lands De Jong ]

James has been on loan at Bayern Munich for a year and a half, and has played more under Niko Kovac. He missed six matches with a knee injury, but has three goals in nine Bundesliga appearances this season. It’s better than that, actually, as he has three goals and one assist in the matches which saw him on the field for more than a dozen minutes.

Would James plus cash be enough? Rodriguez is seven months older than Eriksen.

Newcastle has been linked with a pair of loan moves, with The Chronicle saying Mike Ashley sanctioned both during a weekend meeting with Rafa Benitez.

The manager had been reported as ready to walk away from the club if the Magpies hierarchy could not provide two players to his relegation battle.

Antonio Barreca and Gelson Martins are both starving for playing time at AS Monaco and Atletico Madrid, and Newcastle is looking moves which include the chance for permanent summer purchases.

Martins was linked as a possible swap piece in an Alvaro Morata deal, but he’d be a far more important part of Newcastle. The 23-year-old Portuguese playmaker only has 224 league minutes for Atleti, but scored 10 goals and registered nine assists for Sporting Lisbon last season.

The 23-year-old Barreca has struggled at both Torino and Monaco after a strong debut season in 2016-17.

— We’ve saved perhaps the best for last: If Chelsea doesn’t want to sell Callum Hudson-Odoi to Bayern Munich, do you believe they’d let the youngster stay in the Premier League. Bild is reporting that Liverpool is trying to bring the 18-year-old to Anfield.

Would Martins swap help Atleti land Chelsea’s Morata?

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Atletico Madrid hopes to offload two under performers in the January transfer window, with at least one of them serving as a make good in a loan deal for Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata.

Atleti is without former Chelsea striker Diego Costa, and Diego Simeone sees something he likes in the misfiring Morata.

[ MORE: Zimmerman spurns Europe for LAFC ]

But the Atleti boss would need to come up with something additional for Morata aside from a $4 million loan fee, according to several reports.

Would the Blues accept either Nikola Kalinic or Gelson Martins in order to rid themselves of their Spanish striker?

Martins fits the Chelsea profile more, a 23-year-old attack-minded midfielder and winger, as Kalinic at 31 is a season-and-a-half removed from his last double-digit goal campaign.

Martins had 10 goals and nine assists for Sporting Lisbon last season.

Almost unprecedented: Sporting Lisbon facing exodus, free agent frenzy

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There is an almost unbelievable state of play at one of the world’s most successful clubs right now.

That club is Sporting CP, the group that has been home to Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo, and William Carvalho.

That last name is part of our story today.

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When last we checked in with the Lisbon club, its players had been attacked mid-training session by a mob of supposed fans following the club’s failure to land its near-annual berth in the UEFA Champions League. This came a month after the club’s entire first team was suspended after a row with its president.

Sporting had spent four seasons in the UCL, rebounding from its lone season outside Portugal’s Top Four since 1976.

Now many on its laundry list of high-priced talents could be leaving the club for free, potentially setting one of the most storied clubs in Portugal back to its very roots.

Bas Dost, William Carvalho, Gelson Martins, and Bruno Fernandes reportedly requested to break their contracts on Monday, joining goalkeeper Rui Patricio and Daniel Podence.

Dost scored 27 league goals this season, and joined Fernandes and Martins as Top 15 performers according to WhoScored. Carvalho, the big 26-year-old midfielder, was 21st.

Sporting has done a remarkable job identifying talent from without and growing talent from within, only once spending more than $14 million on a player (Dost) while selling 11 individuals for that much or more (Adrien Silva, Ruben Semedo, Joao Mario, Islam Slimani, Marcos Rojo, Bruma, Joao Moutinho, Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Viana, Aldo Duscher).

Only a cursory search through our pages finds several of Sporting’s want-aways in the gossip section for almost thrice that figure. Carvalho (and/or Sporting) has resisted interest of as much as $50 million, often connected with Jose Mourinho. Dost has been linked with Newcastle, and Patricio said to be making a move to PL new boys Wolves.

To lose these players for free, largely because of an attack from “supporters” is bonkers. And in your gut, you have to think the players stand a very good chance of being allowed to leave for safety reasons, making for an unexpected sort of free agent frenzy.

How long would it take for a club to rebound from that, and how far could Sporting sink on the table? Fortunately, it would have some time to rebuild for its Europa League run, but wow.