Josue Martinez being interviewed after a Deportivo Saprissa game. (Photo courtesy of Teletica)
Back in July, the Philadelphia Union were linked to Deportivo Saprissa striker Josue Martinez, and reportedly even made a bid of nearly $1 million for him. MLS Rumors spotted a new report, out of Norway, that says that the Union are set to bid for the forward again, but this time are the most likely destination for Martinez with Norwegian club FFK unable to afford a transfer themselves of between $400-500,000.
Martinez has excelled at both the club and international levels, despite being only 21-years-old. In 11 starts for the Costa Rican national team, Martinez has found the back of the net five times. His form for Saprissa is not quite as good, but a goal about every three games played (15 goals in 42 league games in Costa Rica) is still in line with the likes of Sebastien Le Toux on the Union.
The striker is considered once of Costa Rica's brightest prospects on both the club and international level, alongside Arsenal forward Joel Campbell, who was sold by Saprissa for $1 million. Martinez has a stronger pedigree than Campbell, who only played in three league games for Saprissa before moving to England, and apparently is just half the cost for the Union.
Union head coach Piotr Nowak has talked about bringing in both new talent and competition into the squad in order to propel Philadelphia towards becoming a championship contender.
"We are looking towards making some competition in the group. The group will be better off knowing that someone is breathing heavy and will keep you on your toes," Nowak told reporters at the Union's final press conference of the 2011 season. "You cannot win a championship with 13 guys, you have to have guys that are going to provide cover."
At only $400-500,000 in transfer fees, Martinez would not only provide the Union with a possible starter up front, but also someone young enough to push the likes of Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney for playing time. Additionally, Martinez would qualify for MLS' new 'young DP' designation, which would keep his salary cap cost down to around $200,000, instead of the $335,000 that designated players typically cost teams.