The report – published Friday night and citing multiple sources familiar with the negotiations – indicates that the 31-year-old Nigerian international is the latest in a string of players across the globe connected to a move to China, and that other players in MLS are also currently being courted.
The Sounders have declined to comment on the report. The club landed in Los Angeles on Saturday and will train there until Feb. 18 as they inch closer to the first leg of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against Club America on Feb. 23 in Seattle.
Martins has been a fixture up top for the Sounders since he joined the club early in the 2013 season, earning an MLS Best XI selection in 2014 and earning team MVP honors each of the past two seasons.
He’s scored 40 goals and added 23 assists over three seasons with the club, the eighth of his 16-year career.
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Although the reported negotiations have made news in Seattle and MLS, Martins is hardly the first high-profile player linked to a move to China. In the past month alone, teams in the Chinese Super League have landed Brazilian midfielder Ramires, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Shaktar Donetsk midfielder Alex Teixiera, all for reported transfer fees between $28-56 million.
Other notable international players currently playing in China include Ivory Coast midfielder Gervinho, Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan, former New York Red Bulls forward and Australian icon Tim Cahill and former Seattle Sounders striker Fredy Montero, who was transferred to Tianjin Teda from Portuguese side Sporting CP last week.
Sounders forward and Paraguayan international Nelson Valdez, meanwhile, said last week that his agent had received interest about a potential transfer to China, but Valdez declined interest in the move.