The A-League are making a concerted effort to improve both the quality of the football and the attractiveness to spectators, both in terms of going to games and watching on TV.

Overseas players are being targeted, as clubs down under try to attract the biggest possible stars.

Reigning champions Sydney FC recently unveiled former Newcastle midfielder Siem de Jong as their stellar new signing.

Wellington Phoenix signed Steven Taylor earlier this year after Peterborough put him on the transfer list and they have been in talks to try and add Obafemi Martins ahead of the new season.

The former Newcastle striker turns 34 next month and is currently with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.

However, there now looks to be zero chance of Martins heading to Wellington, or indeed any other A-League club.

Obafemi Martins currently earns over £5m per season in China and agent Ante Alilovic, has now admitted that no deal will happen.

The agent was acting as an intermediary between Phoenix and Shenhua, but says they couldn’t get anywhere near meeting Martins’ wage demands.

Instead of the A-League, the former Newcastle striker is heading to the UK to help his recovery from injury, before heading back to China. Whilst out injured, Shanghai Shenhua have brought in Demba Ba as their new number one striker, so Obafemi Martins might be guaranteed his massive £100,000+ per  week wages but not regular football.

If Wellington Phoenix had agreed a deal, under a scheme to help bring in overseas stars, the Australian Football Federation had agreed to pay half of whatever any deal for Martins would have cost.

Ante Alilovic:

“I don’t think the A-League is a serious option in terms of what he can earn elsewhere.

“He won’t be coming to Australia and I think he sees his future remaining in China.” 



  • Kenny

    Newcastle cannot afford former star never mind the A league

    • Ron

      I was going to write “any star” but we can afford just not allowed.

  • Paul Patterson

    Martins is 34?
    I would have gone 44 to be honest . .

  • SuperDesHamilton

    He was doing canny until he got injured in China. It’s proper cutthroat over there the gulf states etc..when it comes to players injuries. Some clubs will just release you & not pay for any recovery progress especially if you’re foreign. Most teams in Asia are only allowed 5 foreigners per squad 4 foreign 1 Asian foreign, of you get a long term injury there’s a massive chance you’ll get kicked out the club or they’ll just stop paying you, like they do in Saudi Arabia

  • Philippines

    It is amazing what a player him can get paid. I would consider him ‘well over the hill’ by now. Still my last game was at 48.