Gelson Martins has finally put pen to paper on a permanent deal with French club AS Monaco, signing a five-year contract with the Ligue 1 club from Atletico Madrid.
Former Sporting forward Gelson spent the second half of last season on-loan at the Stade Louis II, making an instant impact to help Leonardo Jardim’s side escape an unexpected relegation battle in the French top flight.
Gelson scored three goals in his first four matches in Ligue 1 in February, having signed on a six-month deal until the end of the season shortly after Jardim had been reinstated at Monaco. The 24-year-old’s goalscoring form tailed off somewhat during the remainder of the campaign and he ended with 4 goals from 16 league appearances, but Gelson did enough for the Monegasques to seek a long-term deal.
"I am very happy to be able to join AS Monaco permanently and I am now very much looking forward to seeing the group again in preparation for the upcoming season,” Gelson said after the move was announced. “Despite the difficult situation, we managed to show some good things last season and I will do everything to help the club achieve its goals this season."
The deal should see Sporting pocket a hefty transfer fee, with Atletico believed to be receiving well in excess of €30m from Monaco and thought to have agreed to pay Sporting in the region of €22.5m to settle differences following Gelson’s controversial move from Alvalade to Madrid last summer.
Gelson has been outspoken in relation to his lack of impact in Spain under Atletico coach Diego Simeone. The Portuguese was quoted by Marca last month as saying: “When I went to Atletico it was with the intention of playing, but it's not easy to get in. My style of play did not fit the ideas of Diego Simeone, because it is a very defensive team.”
Monaco are also expected to focus on completing a permanent deal for fellow Portuguese Adrien Silva, who arrived on-loan from Premier League club Leicester City in January. Reports on Monday suggested the former Sporting midfielder is deeply unhappy with his treatment at the English outfit, where Silva believes he has been shown a lack of respect during communication this summer.
By Sean Gillen