A report from Football.London today ignited a firestorm of Twitter rumors that linked Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez with a move to Tottenham Hotspur. The Venezuelan forward has been on a tear in MLS, scoring 18 goals in 18 league matches this far.
However, the article misinterpreted Martinez’s quote, originally given in Spanish to the Venzuelan outlet Lider en Deportes in Februrary. Here is the quote in Spanish, and as translated by Google Translate:
“Esas ganas están intactas, apenas tengo 23 años. Atlanta está muy ligado al Tottenham y a otros equipos europeos, están comprando jugadores jóvenes con grandes objetivos para ellos.”
"That desire is intact, I'm just 23 years old. Atlanta is closely linked to Tottenham and other European teams, they are buying young players with big goals for them.”
Let’s break this one down piece by piece:
“That desire is intact, I’m just 23 years old.”
Here, Martinez is referring to the “desire” of Atlanta United to bring in young talent that the club can develop and sell for profits. Atlanta’s philosophy is in stark contrast to the more traditional MLS model of acquiring older players who have lost a step and are forced out of their roles at top European teams.
“Atlanta is closely linked to Tottenham and other European teams,”
Atlanta United’s club president is a former Spurs executive (Darren Eales) and the team is managed by Gerardo “Tata” Martino, an Argentine who is friends (and a former teammate) of Spurs Manager Mauricio Pochettino. Atlanta also has multiple front office members who have played or worked for European teams, so there are plenty of other links to Europe in the technical department.
“...they are buying young players with big goals for them.”
Martinez is quite clearly using “they” to refer to Altanta, or more specifically the members of Atlanta’s recruitment team. He’s definitely not talking about Tottenham.
This isn’t to say that Martinez might one day go to Spurs, or that Spurs aren’t keeping tabs on him. Martinez has talked often about his affection for Atlanta and how much he enjoys the city and the team, so I’d cast doubts on him moving anytime soon.