The wait is over: Obafemi Martins is finally a Sounder.
The signing was announced by the team Friday afternoon. The Nigerian forward will be a designated player, giving Seattle a full complement of three (Mauro Rosales, Shalrie Joseph).
“This move is consistent with our promise to the fans.” said majority owner Joe Roth in a news release. “Our supporters are the best in Major League Soccer and deserve a team that competes each and every year. Obafemi is an electrifying talent who has international experience at the highest level.”
Martins, 28, will wear the No. 9 jersey for the Sounders, a number that has been unused here the past two seasons and is historically given to a team’s top forward. Blaise Nkufo, a previous DP forward, last wore the number in 2010.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, per MLS and team policy, but he’s expected to have a seven-figure salary.
“We are thrilled to welcome Obafemi to our family,” said Adrian Hanauer, part owner and general manager, in the release. “Winning trophies continues to be the focus of our club. Martins is an impact player who we hope will help us reach the ultimate goal.”
So could Martins be available for Saturday’s big rivalry game against Portland. Here are some quick updates from Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid after Friday’s practice.
“He’ll be on the roster, I think, by the end of today,” Schmid said, “and depending on there being no hiccups on the arrival of his flight, he’s eligible for (18-man lineup) tomorrow.”
And how does that change things?
“It adds a pretty talented player,” Schmid said. “He hasn’t had a chance to train with us yet or get to know the names of his teammates, but what’s really great and encouraging is his desire to want to be here, his desire to undertake the journey and wanting to be part of where we’re at, be part of the rivalry. He knows the importance of the game. I know (sporting director Chris Henderson) has been on the phone with him and talked to him about the importance of the game, and he wants to be part of that. His loyalty is to the Seattle Sounders and I think it’s a good example that he’s showing by the effort that he’s making in getting here.”