The Seattle Sounders have finally signed Nigerian international Obafemi Martins as their newest Designated Player after weeks of speculation. Martins joins the team from La Liga side Levante and could be available for Tomorrow nights rivalry match against the Portland Timbers. Both the Sounders and Levante reportedly agreed to a deal for Martins, but the deal couldn't get done because the there was a $4 million buyout clause that had to be paid in order to allow Martins to join the Sounders immediately. Then about a week ago, it looked like the deal was going to be put on hold until the summer because of the fact that Martins was the team leader in goals and that Levante were still competing in the Europa League. But then on Monday, ESPN FC reported that Martins paid his release clause and now the signing was made official earlier today.
Martins began his career Italy, spending a year in the Reggiana youth system before joining Inter Milan in 2001. In five seasons for Inter, Martins made 136 appearances and scored 49 goals in all competitions and led the squad to a Serie A title in the 2005-06 and Back-to-Back Coppa Italia titles in 2005 and 2006. Following his stint with Inter, Martins joined Premier League club Newcastle United where he made a total of 104 appearances and 35 goals before leaving the Magpies in 2009 after the club was relegated to the Championship. He then joined German Bundesliga club Wolfsburg where he didn't make much of an impact. He made only 25 appearances and scored 6 goals for them. Following his disappointing season he joined Russian Premier League club Rubin Kazan and made 12 appearances and scored two goal in 2010 before returning to England on loan during their offseason, joining Birmingham City till' the end of the season. During his short time there, he scored the game winning goal in the Carling Cup final against Arsenal. Pouncing on a loose ball in the final minute. I did a recap of this match a couple years ago while I was experimenting prior to the Sounders 2011 season. He only made six appearances and scored two goals before suffering a stress fracture on his left tibia. And of course recently played for Levante in La Liga where he made a total of 27 appearances and led the team in goals with nine.
Martins has also represented Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008 and 2010 as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Overall he has capped 38 times for his country and scored 18 goals. As a matter of fact, following tomorrows match, he'll hop back on the plane and join Nigeria for their World Cup Qualifying match next Saturday against Kenya.
Here's a look at what we're about to get out of Martins.....