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February 19, 2016

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Martins raring to go with Shenhua

SHANGHAI Greenland Shenhua’s new signing, Obafemi Martins of Nigeria, said he was ready to help his new team achieve a better result in the CSL than last year.

The Chinese Super League side finished sixth last year.

Shenhua made an official announcement yesterday, saying it had signed Martins on a one-year contract from the US-based Major League Soccer side Seattle Sounders. The transfer fee for the 31-year-old striker was not disclosed, though BBC reported that it was a “multi-million dollar” deal.

“I’m very glad to meet my teammates and club staff,” Martins said after spending the first day with his new team, which is currently in South Korea to play pre-season friendly matches.

“I’m looking forward to train properly so that when the games arrive, I’m ready to do my best to score goals for my team. I’m here to help the team.”

On Wednesday, Martins posted a goodbye letter to his American fans on Twitter.

“It’s time for a new challenge,” he wrote. “After significant reflection, I have decided to join Shanghai Shenhua FC of the CSL.”

Martins, who scored 15 goals in 21 regular-season games last year, thanked Seattle for the opportunity with the Sounders.

Meanwhile, former Shenhua player Tim Cahill may find it tough to find another club in China. His agent Ante Alilovic said on Wednesday that the Australian would remain in China.

Cahill, popular with Shenhua fans‚ has been linked with another CSL side Hangzhou Greentown in neighboring Zhejiang Province.

The club’s vice president Wu Shaokun told Zhejiang-based newspaper Youth Times that they would not be able to afford Cahill’s annual salary, which was reportedly close to US$3 million.

“Unless he is willing to take a salary cut ... otherwise it would affect the (atmosphere) in the locker room,” Wu told the paper.

Greenland Shenhua told Cahill that he was not part of new coach Gregorio Manzano’s plans for the 2016 season. The former Everton stalwart had extended the contract with the club just three months ago.


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