It's officially official: The Seattle Sounders have signed Obafemi Martins as their third Designated Player on Friday. Assuming his flight arrives on time, he'll be in Seattle this evening and be eligible to play on Saturday against the Portland Timbers.
"This move is consistent with our promise to the fans," Majority Owner Joe Roth said in a team release. "Our supporters are the best in Major League Soccer and deserve a team that competes each and every year. Obafemi is an electrifying talent who has international experience at the highest level."
The signing ends what had become a rather lengthy and tumultuous pursuit of the former Inter Milan and Newcastle star. The Sounders' interest in Martins first became public nearly a month ago when Steven Goff first reported the rumor. Martins eventually went public with his own desire to join the Sounders, but Levante did everything in their power to stop the deal. Levante was unable to keep Martins' exit fee from being paid, though, and he was free to sign with the Sounders last week.
That's most likely when the Sounders got the paperwork started and explains why he stayed in Europe to get his work visa, rather than coming to the United States and needing to leave the country again.
Martins comes to the Sounders in the midst of a resurgent season with Levante, scoring a team best nine goals across all competitions.
"We are thrilled to welcome Obafemi to our family," General Manager Adrian Hanauer said. "Winning trophies continues to be the focus of our club. Martins is an impact player who we hope will help us reach the ultimate goal."