Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wolfsburg Linked to Martins Move

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wolfsburg Linked to Martins Move

Article excerpt

GERMAN champions VfL Wolfsburg are the latest club to be linked with Obafemi Martins - as Newcastle United reconcile themselves with the prospect of selling the striker at a hefty loss to get him off their strained wage bill, writes MARK DOUGLAS.

The Bundesliga side, managed by former Bayern Munich boss Felix Magathe, have been credited with an interest in Martins by reports in Germany, but are only prepared to go to EUR7million.

That is pounds 4m less than United paid Inter for Martins' signature but such is the need to clear the books of some of their high earners, Newcastle may have no choice.

Wolfsburg have joined Turkish side Besiktas, Aston Villa and Stoke City as the most likely destination for Martins, who flattered to deceive during a frustrating campaign last season.

The German title winners could offer Champions League football to the Nigeria striker, but The Journal understands that Villa's interest is genuine and serious.

Martin O'Neill is unlikely to sanction a bid of any more than pounds 6m either though - a reflection of the depreciation in Martins' value since relegation.

The 24-year-old pledged his future to Newcastle in the wake of United dropping into the Championship but it is unlikely that he will be playing for the club in the second tier next season.

Although Nigeria's qualification for the World Cup next season remains in the balance, Martins knows that he needs to be playing in one of Europe's top leagues to be in the frame for a possible place in South Africa.

And his wage demands are so hefty that United could not afford to keep him unless wealthy benefactors take the club over soon. That prospect can not be taken for granted with even senior figures at the club like Chris Hughton admitting that they are working day-to-day with no certainty of imminent progress on either the managerial or ownership issues. …

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