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Martins pays buy-out clause to leave Levante; Hannover want Diouf stay

Former Internazionale Milano striker Obafemi Martins is on the verge of joining MLS side Seattle Sounders.

Former Internazionale Milano striker Obafemi Martins is on the verge of joining MLS side Seattle Sounders after Levante UD revealed the player paid the buy-out clause — believed to be in the region of €3 million — in his contract on Monday, ESPN Soccernet understands.

Late last month, Martins told Spanish radio station Cadena SER he wanted to leave the Estadi Ciutat de València in order to join Seattle Sounders.

“I am not happy at Levante,” said Martins.

“I have spoken about this with the club. It is not about money, but something which is not being fulfilled. I want to go. [The Sounders] have spoken with me, and made me a good offer. I have discussed it with Levante and am waiting on their reply.”

In response, Levante asserted that none of their players would be free to leave the club unless the release clauses in their contracts were met.

On Monday, the Valencia-based club revealed Martins paid his €3 million release clause in its entirety. He must have been pretty unhappy.

“The footballer Martins Obafemi Akinwunmi has this evening deposited, at the headquarters of the Liga de Futbol Professional, the amount corresponding to the buy-out clause in his contract with Levante Union Deportiva,” read a statement on the club’s official website.

“The LFP has proceeded with the movement of the deposit made to Levante, as per the regulations of the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol.”

Martins, 28, scored a team-high nine goals in 27 competitive appearances for Levante UD this season.

The 28-year-old striker has played for seven clubs since making his senior debut for Italian side A.C. Reggiana 1919 in 2000-01, including the likes of Inter Milan, Newcastle United, VfL Wolfsburg, Rubin Kazan, Birmingham City and Levante.

Hannover want Diouf stay

Hannover 96 chairman Martin Kind has insisted the club will do anything they can to keep Borussia Dortmund target Mame Biram Diouf at the AWD-Arena, Sky Sports reports.

Diouf, 25, joined Hannover 96 from Manchester United in January 2012.

The Senegal international, whose current contract expires in the summer of 2014, has been tipped as a potential replacement for Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, who will not sign a new contract at Signal Iduna Park.

According to Kind, it would take a big offer to convince Hannover to sell their 25-year-old talisman.

“First of all, Mame Biram Diouf is under contract with our club. His contract will end in June 2014,” Kind told Norddeutscher Rundfunk.

“Therefore we are an important and quite decisive partner in any talks thus far.

“If there is a necessity and if we need to be in any talks regarding the future of Mame Biram Diouf we are not to be an easy part. We have some concrete ideas!”

Diouf has bagged 15 goals and five assists in 29 competitive appearances (23 starts) for Bundesliga club, including a team-high 10 goals in 20 league matches.

Tue 12 March, 2013
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