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Jackson Martínez signs for Guangzhou Evergrande: A recap

Jorge Mendes engineers Asian-record transfer as Atleti turn a profit on the ex-Porto flop

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images


I have a lot of thoughts on this, so bear with me. First, let's go through what we know, what is official: Atlético Madrid have sold Jackson Martínez to Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande for €42 million. The 29-year-old forward only moved to Spain in July, coming over from Porto for €35 million, after which he proceeded to waste everyone's time score three goals in over 1,000 minutes of competitive football. Jackson, of course, scored 92 goals in 132 games for the Portuguese club and was wanted by Arsenal and Milan over the summer before choosing Atleti.

Weren't we lucky.

It's a pretty incredible turn of events. The second-most expensive purchase in club history is gone six months after he touched down in Madrid. But Jackson never truly arrived in Spain, and while he once was one of Europe's most prized marksmen, the Colombian departs for China bereft of confidence, his reputation in tatters.

Jackson signs for Guangzhou Evergrande

Courtesy of AS Colombia

Now, although Cadena COPE indicate that Jackson blamed Diego Simeone for his fall from grace, it is important to not absolve Atlético of all blame for Jackson's failures at the Calderón. The money spent on him was exorbitant, especially when you recall he was a 28-year-old who had never played in a major European league. Atleti could have invested the money into a much wiser business venture (another young attacking midfielder or two? Mauro Icardi? DIEGO COSTA?!?) while Simeone struggled to integrate Jackson on the pitch. Jackson often looked very disconnected from play, alone near midfield or hanging out around the box, never really running or shooting with purpose. A lot of this malaise and lack of confidence is on the player, but some of the responsibility for three goals in six months must be shouldered by the team and the coach.

Well, since that's out of the way, more thoughts:

  • Atlético made a profit on Jackson.
  • I repeat: Atlético made a profit on Jackson. Insane.
  • Simeone and Mario Mandzukic reportedly had a falling-out last spring, and Mandzukic was sold to Juventus very soon after the season ended. Cholo couldn't even wait to get Jackson off his hands. Maybe we will find out the juicy details at a later date, maybe we won't, but something very serious could have happened (other than the exceedingly poor in-game performances).
  • One of the best quotes from Jackson's introductory presser came after he was asked how many goals he would score this season. He (kinda harshly) replied that he did not know what the future held. Guess we know now why he didn't offer a prediction.
  • Jorge Mendes giveth, Jorge Mendes taketh away, Jorge Mendes changeth the course of Asian football.

So what happens next? Well, Atlético will get by with Antoine Griezmann and Ángel Correa/Luciano Vietto/whatever Fernando Torres can conjure up. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco can also play as a wide forward or even as a second striker in a pinch. However, the timing of the transfer suggests that Atleti's board is confident that the club's transfer ban will remain suspended through the summer; ergo, players could be signed. Marca surmise (as they have since the summer) that the endgame is a tearful reunion with Costa, who has hinted that he may be interested in coming back. We all know about his age, his hamstrings, etc. (I said my piece here) but if Simeone d is convinced he can get him firing at his age-24 season best again...we'll see.

In the meantime, Jackson is gone, although he never was truly here.