TUKWILA, Wash. — Official confirmation has yet to arrive, but all signs point to the Seattle Sounders finalizing an agreement on the transfer of Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins.
There has already been official confirmation from Levante's president that Martins' exit fee had been paid and Martins, himself, tweeted about plans to join the Sounders on Monday.
When asked about the various developments, Seattle GM Adrian Hanauer pointedly did not deny them in issuing a lengthy "no comment."
"As I've said from the beginning, Oba is a player we've been circling the wagons on and there seems to be a number of indicators that seem to suggest he'll be playing for Seattle in the near future," Hanauer told a group of reporters. "I'm not going to deny that those indicators are out there. It's possible we may have a new forward coming into the team sometime in the near future."
If the Sounders can close the deal, that would be welcomed news for an outfit that has yet to score in its first two competitive matches of the season. Martins was Levante's leading scorer this season, bagging seven league goals and two more in Europa League.
"He's a player who's been able to score goals in some of the toughest leagues in the world," Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said, while also declining to confirm the reports. "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."
While reports out of Spain suggest Martins could be flying to Seattle as soon as Tuesday, the likelihood is that he won't be able to play for at least a week or two. Before he can suit up, he'll need to secure a work visa and finalize his international transfer certificate.
A possible further delay to his debut could be around around the corner, as reports have emerged that he's been named to Nigeria's roster for their upcoming World Cup qualifier against Kenya on March 23. If he joins the Super Eagles, the soonest he'd be available is the Sounders' game against Real Salt Lake on March 30.
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