You can add some substance to the rumors.
A Sounders FC official is in Valencia, Spain, to try to secure the transfer of Levante UD forward Obafemi Martins to Seattle.
The news was first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl and independently confirmed by The Seattle Times through a team source.
Steven Goff of The Washington Post was first to report on the team’s interest in the Nigerian forward. That came last week, and here’s an earlier blog post on the subject that includes an interest tweet from Martins himself.
Martins, who is starting in a La Liga match today versus Osasuna, would surely be a designated player for the Sounders, meaning that one of the team’s three DPs would have to be removed (it has been no secret that Christian Tiffert is expected to be bought out).
The deadline to buy out a player is March 2, but the Sounders could still sign Martins through mid-April in this transfer window.
(UPDATE 2:37 p.m. — FutbolMLS.net is reporting the transfer fee could be close to $4 million)
Martins, listed at 28 years old, has played for teams like Inter Milan, Newcastle and Wolfsburg, and recently led Levante to the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 with two goals a 4-0 series win over Olympiacos. He has seven goals in 20 La Liga games and nine goals in 25 games in all competitions, according to his ESPN.com profile.
The next round of Europa League games is on March 7 and 14, Levante faces Rubin Kazan, and it’s possible an arrival might not be until after then.
You might remember Adrian Hanauer told Arlo White that Martins is “the sort of player” the Sounders would be interested in, as relayed on the NBC Sports Network broadcast of Saturday’s Desert Diamond Cup final.
Here’s a relevant Hanauer quote from last week: “I’d be lying if I said we’re not also very interested in acquiring another forward. And I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a player who could potentially fill that designated player role or position, of which we’ve got three right now. So that kind of gives you a heads up that we are considering all of our options over the next couple of weeks.”
I’ll update this post throughout the day, but what do you make of the news?