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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 23, 2006

Magpies close to completing Martins deal

Newcastle hope to complete the £10million transfer of Inter Milan striker Obafemi Martins by the end of the day.

Magpies boss Glenn Roeder is confident of landing the 21-year-old Nigerian despite reports that Portsmouth have attempted to hijack his move.

Club officials were in Italy today putting the final touches to the deal and hope to return with the player within the next 24 hours.

• Roeder challenges Martins to
take over Shearer mantle

Roeder said: 'We have got club officials out there today in Milan trying to tie the deal up.

'I think we are virtually there with an agreement with the player, the club and agents.

'There is quite a bit of paperwork to be done today and we will be rushing around trying to get that all signed up so that hopefully, either very late tonight or first thing in the morning, we can bring Martins back with us.

'It's too early to say, `Yes, he's signed up' because officially, he has not. But we are very positive over what's going to happen by the end of play today.'

Asked about Pompey's reported intervention, he added: 'I never worry about speculation at all. I only concern myself with what we are doing.

'As far as I am concerned, as long as the paperwork goes through today, he will be our man and not only Portsmouth, but any other club, will have to look elsewhere for a striker.'

Newcastle confirmed yesterday they had agreed a fee with Inter for a player Roeder has been tracking for much of the summer.

He and chairman Freddy Shepherd have considered a series of options as they look to add firepower following the retirement of Alan Shearer and Michael Owen's serious knee injury.

Darren Bent, Jermain Defoe and Dirk Kuyt all warranted serious consideration, but Martins looks to be their man.

Shola Ameobi played as a lone striker in the 2-1 Premiership victory over Wigan on Saturday, but is struggling with hip and hamstring injuries ahead of tomorrow night's UEFA Cup qualifier against Latvian side Ventspils.

Martins' arrival - he could make his debut at Aston Villa on Sunday - would give the club a huge boost as they continue their rebuilding programme.

Roeder was giving little away on his remaining targets, which are thought to include Real Madrid midfielder Thomas Gravesen and Chelsea full-back Wayne Bridge, but he admitted Martins is unlikely to be the last new face.

  • Roeder challenges Martins to take over Shearer mantle

    Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder is challenging £10million striker Obafemi Martins to make his price tag a bargain by taking over Alan Shearer's mantle.

    Magpies officials were in Italy today to put the finishing touches to a deal to bring Inter Milan's Nigeria international to St James' Park, and Roeder is confident he will be a big hit.

    Indeed, he believes the 21-year-old can increase his value on Tyneside by scoring the goals the club craves.

    Roeder said: 'He is strong and he is young enough that I believe at the price we have paid, he will go up in value, and that will be achieved if he has a couple of successful season here.

    'It would be nice to bring a player in who actually does that - not that we will be looking to sell, because we are a buying club - but the principle of buying a player who has a possibility of increasing his value is pleasing.

    'At the price we have secured him at, if he comes and scores the goals we want him to, I am sure he will be worth a lot more than £10million in a couple of years' time.

    'Without doubt, one of the first requirements you are looking for in all players in top-level football now is pace.

    'It's a huge requirement. You look and most of the best players in the world have got lots and lots of pace.

    'Martins definitely comes into that category of having lots and lots of pace. He is rapid.

    'Most teams in England play a very high line with lots of space in behind the back four, and I hope he can exploit that with our midfield players giving him plenty of ammunition to go in on the goalkeeper.'

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