Sounders make it official, sign Martins as third DP

ObaMartins (Getty)


Don’t look now, but Seattle could make a real run for MLS glory this season.

The Sounders announced in a press conference on Friday the signing of Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins, becoming the team’s third Designated Player on their roster. He joins midfielders Mauro Rosales and Shalrie Joseph as the team’s DP’s, and bolsters an already strong Seattle attack.

Martins, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, has been the subject of intense international media speculation about his potential move to MLS. As revealed on Monday, Martins was able to pay his buyout clause from Levante in Spain’s La Liga, enabling the Sounders to pick up the striker on a free transfer.

After moving to Italy as a teenager, the 29-year-old played over 100 matches for both Inter Milan and Newcastle United between 2001 and 2009. Since then, he’s enjoyed short spells at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, Rubin Kazan in the Russian Premier League, Birmingham City in the Championship, and most recently, Levante.

Now with Seattle, Martins will wear the #9 shirt, and according to coach Sigi Schmid, he could be available to play his first match on Saturday, against rivals Portland.

What do you think of the news? Do you see Martins starting this weekend?

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47 Responses to Sounders make it official, sign Martins as third DP

  1. Samurai says:

    If Johnson and Martins can mesh well on the field, they automatically form the best strike pair in the league. Seattle could really use Obafemi Martins next month for their Concacaf Champions League semifinal clash with Santos Laguna. I expect alot of goal scoring from the two. This might be one of the most exciting acquisitions the Sounders have made.

    • Sergio of SF says:

      I think Robbie Keane and Landon would have something to say about that. Once Landon returns that is…and assuming Bruce starts him up top and not on the flank.

    • Shake says:

      How on earth would you think that would be better than LD and Keane? I have no idea.

      • Jon says:

        LD isn’t even playing right now….. So who cares about them.

        • Zero says:

          LD and Robbie ARE the best strike tandem in the league. He’s not here today but you discount him entirely on account of an extra month off? Ugh, typical seattle people.

          • Sam says:

            Isnt LD a winger?

            • Bobb says:

              Donovan played as a forward last year and he and Keane were both like three levels above everyone else in the league in terms of their interplay.
              Martins may or may not make it in this league, but Eddie Johnson being part of any best strike pair in MLS is a joke.
              And let’s not forget Wondo with Lenhart/Gordon…

              • Charles says:

                I always love the comments where guys rip on Nat team members. It always comes across as they think they know more than anyone else, but the reality is they seem to know less.

          • acj says:

            It’s a lot closer than you make it seem.
            A) Donovan’s not even on the team right now so this is all academic.
            B) It’s not clear that Keane would be a top 20 scorer in La Liga. Martins was.

            I wouldnt say the EJ Martins pairing was the best since we don’t know how he’ll adapt to the style of play, etc. But you’re acting like he just claimed that New England had the best strikers in the league.

      • Corp Exec. says:

        Martins is gonna meg Gonzo and chip the keeper upper V

        67K will thusly chant OBA! OBA! OBA!

  2. Big Chil says:

    Martins paid $3 million for his own buyout. How much is Seattle paying him?

    • ColeBee says:

      MLS doesn’t release that information initially, but I’d venture to say in the $2-3 million range.

    • scott47a says:

      I believe the Sounder at Heart blog put him at $2.5 million a year. Not sure how sure they were though.

    • deflater mouse says:

      Pretty sure the money came from Sounders –> Oba –> Spanish Federation –> Levante

  3. a says:

    Seattle is still gonna crap out in the concachampions. Either way good move in terms of MLS

  4. Bertolucci says:

    I can’t believe the timbers payed $1.5 for Boyd and then bought out he second year. I would take one year of martins over 1/2 year of Boyd (2 years of spending) Any day. We’ll shall see how obafemi fares in the mls… But something tells me his skills translate to any league

  5. Hopper says:

    Great signing. Martins is gonna light up MLS.

  6. guanaco20 says:

    The real question is, will he be eligible to participate on Concacaf Champions League?

  7. Jon R says:

    How old do people think Martins actually is? Not saying he isn’t 29, but you never know with some of the African footballers who go abroad at an early age.

  8. Chupacabra says:

    Yeah sure. Martins’ signing for Seattle will probably affect their run for MLS glory the same way Henry’s signing affected the Red Bulls’ MLS success story.

  9. Jon Smith says:

    Newcastle fans are saying he is in his 40’s…

  10. Dimidri says:

    So the reason Joseph is still classified as a DP is the Sounders are so up against the cap even if Joseph wasn’t a DP the Sounders can’t afford the 300k plus cap hit from a 3rd true DP, right? But if they were to clear space they could downgrade rosales or joseph and get a third DP, right?

    • Sounders26 says:

      Joseph is a DP cause that is his contract with MLS. he’s not a full cap hit DP Chivas is eating some of the cap space so he’s a partial DP. No way Seattle could afford 3 full cap hit DPs.

    • divers suck says:

      If I’m not mistaken, Chivas is picking up much of Shalrie Josephs cost but he’s still on the books as a Seattle DP. MLS being a single entity perhaps? Just a guess. Either way, Joseph doesn’t deserve the DP tag for any team. 5 years ago? Perhaps. Not today.

    • Btoom says:

      Seattle’s rumored to be paying Joseph around $150k, Chivas is picking up the rest but Seattle had to assume the DP tag, or else one of Chivas’s DP tags would’ve been still tied to Joesph.

    • Gary Page says:

      Showing once again that the salary cap should be significantly increased. And no one who makes a team’s first 20 should ever get less than $100 k. It’s the only way to improve the league.

  11. Corp Exec. says:

    The SuperEagle has landed

    link to

  12. Dudester says:

    I know the situation is peculiar but Rosales and Joseph are 2 weak dp’s.

    • divers suck says:

      Mauro Rosales is certainly worthy of a DP…The problem is (and was) that he has been targeted by far less talented players to make it a point to hack him down and injure him since he’s been the one that makes the Sounders stir…Thankfully, they got more weapons!

    • acj says:

      Rosales has been 3rd in the league in assists for the past two years. Given that there are over 30 DPs in the league it’s hard to argue he’s not in the top half. Joseph is probably a weak DP at this point but I’d say he’s a bargain if they’re really only paying 150k for him given that they wouldn’t have the cap room to use that third DP tag anyway.

  13. SounderFan1974 says:

    If Martins is half as good as his highlights, Mauro may end up the league leader in assists and justify his DP tag…

  14. Don Pelayo says:

    I like it. A pair of speedy, talented forwards should make the Sounders exciting to watch.