According to a report in Sport24.gr, Argentine winger Nicolas Martinez is heading to the United States to go on loan with the Philadelphia Union. The 29-year-old is under contract with Greek side Olympiacos until 2019, however he’s been on loan with Australia’s A-League with the Western Sydney Wanderers since August 31. Martinez is a “Marquee Player” - the A-League equivalent of a Designated Player in Major League Soccer. One report said that Olympiacos was paying half of his salary while on loan, and it’s unclear if that would be the same if he is in fact coming to the Union.
I spoke with Donald Wine II of Stars & Stripes FC about the A-League and Martinez in particular. Wine said that Martinez “is an attacking winger that doesn’t really score. He’s had five or six goals in the past two years. I haven’t seen a ton of WSW matches, but they normally play him on the wing, not as a 10.” I also asked about the quality of the A-League in comparison with MLS, and Wine said “There's a lot of people who think A-League is on par, but it really isn't at all. Sydney FC would have probably finished below the red line in either conference in MLS and they stormed everyone to take the league.”
This move doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Union. Left wing is one position they’re stacked at, with Fafa Picault, Chris Pontius, and the loaned out Eric Ayuk already on the club’s roster at the position. That said, he is listed as a 10 by Transfermarkt which is a position of need for the Union. If he was being played out of position with Western Sydney he may be the kind of player the Union is looking for - a bit undervalued and looking to to get first team minutes.
We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.