Gelson Martins has requested the termination of his playing contract with Sporting CP, with invocation of just cause, hoping to leave the club on a free transfer.

In recent weeks, the media have linked Arsenal to a move for the player, with reports that the Portuguese club have already turned two €30m bids down. There were rumours Martins could choose to terminate his contract if Sporting didn’t accept a bid for him to leave, and now it seems that’s what he’s doing.

As a result of the recent training ground attack, some Sporting players have begun the process to terminate their contracts. The club released a statement on Monday confirming Martins is the latest of these.

Sporting CP statement on Gelson Martins

They write that they received the request from Martins on Monday afternoon, and add that “the communication, its effects and consequences are being analysed by the Company (Sporting CP)”.

This doesn’t mean he’s officially terminated his contract, as I’ve seen some on social media reporting. It just means he’s set the process in motion.

We’ll have to see how Sporting decide to respond to the request, and whether Martins really does have grounds for early termination.

Regardless, the threat of termination should help Arsenal’s negotiations significantly. Suddenly €30m (£26.4m) seems like a lot of money if a very possible alternative is nothing. Martins’ buyout clause is still €60m (£52.8m) for the time being.

With 26 goal contributions in 52 games from the wing last season, Martins would be a strong addition to the Arsenal squad. Let’s see if they can get a deal done in the coming months.