Antonio Martinez, often referred to as Toni, has completed a permanent switch from Famalicao to Porto, as announced on the Portuguese giants’ official website.
The 23-year-old Spaniard joins the Dragao on a contract that will keep him there until 2025, having caught the eye with Liga NOS’ surprise package last term, scoring 14 goals and assisting a further six in all competitions.
While this offers great validation for the man who will wear number 29, as well as earning a fee for Famalicao, it just goes to show the mistake that West Ham United made in letting him go.
Having joined the club’s academy from Valencia, Martinez was not given much of a chance by the Hammers, making just three first-team appearances.
He made loan moves to Oxford United, Real Valladolid, Rayo Majadahonda and Lugo before being allowed to join Famalicao on a free transfer in the summer of 2019.
Where would Martinez feature for West Ham if he'd stayed?
On the bench
Out of the squad
Just a year later and he is at Porto, who have a particularly good eye for young talent, having just sold Fabio Silva to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a club-record £35.6m, as was reported by BBC Sport, while they have various other success stories.
Considering our only senior strikers at the moment are Michail Antonio and Sebastien Haller, having another option with goalscoring quality is exactly what we could have do with – on recent evidence, Martinez could have been that man.
It is easy to say this with hindsight, but the striker had recorded 25 goals and three assists in just 29 appearances for the U21s – while that is not a reliable level to go off, such a good return could have bought him a bit more time and patience.
However, he was eventually discarded and while Martinez now gets his opportunity with a Champions League club, while Famalicao get their financial rewards, we come away from this situation with absolutely nothing.