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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 17 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 24, 2006

Martins signs five-year deal with Newcastle

Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins completed his move to Newcastle tonight as manager Glenn Roeder finally got his hands on the man he believes can be Alan Shearer's successor.

The 21-year-old signed a five-year contract after undergoing a medical on Tyneside this afternoon and will go straight into the squad for Sunday's Premiership trip to Aston Villa.

The former Inter Milan player, who has been targeted by Roeder all summer in the wake of Shearer's retirement and Michael Owen's knee injury, is expected to be introduced to the club's fans during tonight's UEFA Cup clash with Ventspils.

Martins is expected to be in the crowd at St James' Park for this evening's UEFA Cup qualifier against Latvian side Ventspils, and could go straight into the squad for the Barclays Premiership trip to Aston Villa on Sunday.

He will join former Inter colleague Emre at the club.

Club officials were in Italy yesterday as Newcastle pushed home their interest in a player Roeder has pursued throughout the summer.

Roeder said: 'There has been a lot of speculation. Along with Martins, there have probably been a dozen other strikers who were allegedly coming to the club during the summer.

'But he has always been the man I wanted. That was the one I targeted, I wanted the pace.

'So for all the speculation, I knew who I was after.'

Chairman Freddy Shepherd is currently pursuing his manager's remaining targets with Wayne Bridge, who played in Chelsea's 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough last night, and Thomas Gravesen on that list.

And it has emerged in the wake of Jean-Alain Boumsong's departure for Juventus that the Magpies could be ready to revive their interest in Chelsea's Robert Huth.

Boro thought they had got the Germany international during the summer before he failed a medical, and although they still hope to take him on loan, they could now face competition.