By Nick Ware

18th Jul, 2021 | 2:10pm

View: Leeds United could strike gold with cut-price swoop for exit-bound striker Josef Martinez

Leeds United can sign the perfect Patrick Bamford challenger in Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez after he told Atlanta United he wants to leave the club.

The Athletic published a report on Friday [16/07/21] claiming that “multiple sources” had told them that the 28-year-old had dropped the bombshell to senior figures that this season would be his last with the MLS club.

Martinez’s contract expires in 2023, but he has been training on his own for over a week after falling out with his manager Gabriel Heinze, the former Manchester United defender who has been dubbed the “next Marcelo Bielsa” by Carlos Tevez [The Athletic].

Martinez is on the comeback trail after suffering an ACL injury in 2020 that caused him to take an extended spell on the sidelines.

But, before that, he was in red-hot form for the Five Stripes, hitting 77 goals in his first 83 games, while his overall record stands at 92 goals in 114 appearances.

Martinez has also scored 11 international goals for Venezuela, including two against Argentina.

As such, he is regarded as one of South America’s hottest properties, and it looks like he is eyeing one final big career move.

He’s someone that will be looking to prove himself as well – his last spell in Europe did not go according to plan as he scored just 13 times in 75 appearances for Italian outfit Torino.

It’s also fair to have concerns over his fitness after such a bad injury suffered in his mid-late twenties.

However, he’s a much more experienced player than he was in Italy, and one injury shouldn’t determine someone’s career.

At his best, Martinez is a powerful, skilful, goal-getting forward who would thrive under Bielsa.

He has the required work-rate, and would instantly challenge Bamford for a spot in the Leeds starting XI without demanding an instant berth.

As an MLS player determined to leave his current club, he’s unlikely to cost a hefty transfer fee, with his exclusion from current activities surely likely to land him a cut-price move elsewhere, and his wages would be fairly minimal.

The Whites have Rodrigo who can act as back-up to Bamford, but if the club really want to make a statement of intent, signing Martinez could help to kick them onto a European spot this season.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites pursuit of this ‘Prolific’ Portuguese forward has been detailed as a decision is made on his future.