Levante UD of Spain confirmed Monday that Obafemi Martins’ exit fee had been paid, a move widely interpreted as a precursor to the striker signing with Seattle Sounders FC.
Martins himself presented the news as a done deal, tweeting: “Finally, I can now announce that I have just signed with Sounders FC. A big step in my career. It’s a big challenge but I’m ready.”
The Sounders said they had no official news to announce, but general manager Adrian Hanauer seemed to throw about as many hints as possible in a statement that began with a preference not to comment.
“We’ll obviously announce something if and when it comes to fruition,” he said. “But as I’ve said from the beginning, Oba is a player that we’ve been circling the wagons on, and there seem to be a number of indicators that suggest that he might be playing for Seattle at some point in the near future, and I’m not going to deny that those indicators are out there, and that it’s possible that we may have a new forward coming into the team at some point here in the near future.”
Martins, 28, is a native of Nigeria who has played for international clubs including Inter Milan of Italy’s Serie A, Newcastle United of the English Premier League, VfL Wolfsburg of the German Bundesliga, and Rubin Kazan of the Russian Premier League.
Martins led Levante with seven goals in Spain’s La Liga this season.
Spanish media reported that Levante received $3.9 million for Martins’ release.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid offered his appraisal of what the Sounders could get out of the deal:
“He’s a player who’s been able to score goals in some of the toughest leagues in the world,” Schmid said. “So now if he can bring that talent here — he’s fast, he’s left-footed, he’s got some explosion to him. I think the crowd will enjoy him.”
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