Obafemi Martins took to his personal Twitter feed on Wednesday night to signify an apparent end to his three-year stay with the Seattle Sounders, thanking fans in the Emerald City but also welcoming a new challenge an ocean away in China.
Although no official statement has been made by either the Sounders or Major League Soccer confirming the deal, Martins said he has decided to join Chinese club Shanghai Shenua, and thanked Seattle fans for “memories that will last a lifetime” and “endless love and support.”
Martins was initially linked to potential interest from China late last week, and Sounders GM and President of Soccer Operations Garth Lagerwey later confirmed that Martins was being courted by a Chinese club. Images of Martins in China emerged on Wednesday after he arrived there to apparently complete the deal.
Martins, 31, was named the Sounders’ team MVP each of the past two seasons and was the runner-up for the league MVP in 2014. He’s scored 40 goals and added 23 assists since joining the Sounders from Spanish side Levante in March 2013.
The Martins news comes less than a week before the Sounders will host Mexican side Club America in the first leg of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. Seattle will host the first leg on Feb. 23 at CenturyLink Field before playing the second leg at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City on March 2.
The Sounders will open the MLS regular season at home against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, March 6.