In his three seasons with the Seattle Sounders, Obafemi Martins has scored 40 goals with 23 assists in MLS play. He also finished second in MVP voting in 2014. People noticed. Martins is back in the Nigerian National Team picture and is now connected to both Newcastle and Sunderland who want him on short-term loan.
This rumor is not like past off-season rumors that looked like plays for cash as clubs in lesser leagues wanted to buy the striker. Both mention it as something that would occur only during the MLS off-season.
Oba previously played with Newcastle, while current Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce was there. Sunderland also has former Sounder DeAndre Yedlin and former MLS player Jermain Defoe on their roster. Defoe may miss some time with a minor injury.
Newcastle boss Steve McLaren, according to the report, has some cash to spend to avoid the drop. The Magpies are currently 17th with just 10 points and the 5th worst goal scoring record.
The Black Cats are even lower at 18th with 9 points and have only scored a single goal more than Newcastle.
Martins would be an offensive boost for either.
There is a negative to the short-term loan. Martins faded at the end of the regular season and failed to score in the MLS Cup Playoffs for a third straight year. While Seattle may get a bit of cash in their pocket the length of loan would not help their stockpile of Allocation Money.
With the Sounders playing two of their most important matches before the season even starts (CCL against Club America) they cannot afford to not have Oba. There is little chance they can beat CONCACAF's best without his scoring prowess. But, if he spends only a few weeks there and comes back in mid-season fitness that could be a path to winning that CCL knockout match.
It's a big if. One with a tiny payoff that is more likely to require Martins to take a rest in midseason. There are a lot of factors that President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey must weigh, but this probably will not come to pass.