Obafemi Martins is expected to be in Seattle Sounders training when it opens on Jan. 25, despite several reports that the Nigerian forward is looking for a transfer.
“I think he has a bad travel agent, so he gets a lot of connections when he’s trying to get back to the states,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid quipped during a post-SuperDraft conference call with reporters. “There is a lot of connecting stops along the way. ... We expect him to be here at the start of the season. There is nothing that he’s said to us that indicates anything different.”
Almost from the moment the season ended, stories have been circling that have brought into question Martins’ likelihood of returning to the Sounders for a second season. Early on, the forward was quoted as saying he wouldn’t mind joining Turkish power Galatasaray where one of his former coaches is currently working. More recently, he’s been linked with Spanish club Getafe. Martins has also been photographed in various parts of Europe, including with a member of Turkish club Rizespor’s board.
Further fueling speculation is the fact that Martins has been a bit of a soccer nomad ever since leaving Newcastle in 2009. Over the past five seasons, the World Cup veteran has played for six different clubs and in five different leagues. He came to Seattle last March after forcing his way out of Spanish side Levante, even paying his own exit clause that was reportedly about $4 million.
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To his credit, though, the 28-year-old Nigerian international has remained productive. He was Levante’s leading scorer with seven goals when he left them in the middle of the season and he scored eight goals in 20 MLS appearances with the Sounders while battling various injuries.