Roeder gets his man Martins in £10m deal

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The Independent Football

The Internazionale striker Obafemi Martins officially signed a five-year deal with Newcastle United last night to conclude the manager Glenn Roeder's pursuit for a replacement for the retired Alan Shearer.

Martins arrived on Tyneside yesterday for a medical and to finalise the £10m move. The Nigeria international was expected to be in the crowd at St James' Park for last night's Uefa Cup qualifier against the Latvian side Ventspils, and could be in the squad for the Premiership trip to Aston Villa on Sunday. He will join his former Inter colleague, Emre, at the club.

Club officials were in Italy yesterday as Newcastle pushed home their interest in a player Roeder has pursued throughout the summer. Roeder said: "There has been a lot of speculation. Along with Martins, there have probably been a dozen other strikers who were allegedly coming to the club during the summer. But he has always been the man I wanted. That was the one I targeted, I wanted the pace. So for all the speculation, I knew who I was after."

The chairman Freddy Shepherd is pursuing his manager's remaining targets with Wayne Bridge, who played in Chelsea's 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough on Wednesday, and Thomas Gravesen on that list.

And it has emerged in the wake of Jean-Alain Boumsong's exit for Juventus that the Magpies could be ready to revive their interest in Chelsea's Robert Huth.

Boro thought they had secured the Germany international during the summer before he failed a medical, and although they still hope to take him on loan they could now face competition.

Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce fears he may miss out on his attempt to lure Nicolas Anelka to Bolton. The manager revealed this week that he had lodged an £8m offer for the Fenerbahce striker and Anelka declared he was ready to sign a four-year contract with the club.

But Allardyce admits the trail has gone cold in the past 72 hours and has yet to discover whether the Turkish club are ready to agree a deal for the Frenchman.

Fenerbahce failed in their efforts to claim a place in the Champions' League group stage on Wednesday night and Allardyce had hoped that would be the catalyst to complete the transfer. But with no news coming out of Turkey, Allardyce is bracing himself for another major disappointment in his effort to sign a proven Premiership goalscorer.

He said: "I just don't know if the Anelka transfer will happen. Every day ticks by and we get closer to deadline day and we seem no nearer. Until I see Anelka in my office at Bolton, I won't believe it will happen."

l Celtic have signed the Dutch striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink on a three-year contract from PSV Eindhoven, the Scottish Premier League champions announced yesterday. The 27-year-old international's move was reported to be worth £5m. He passed his medical on Wednesday to join another new signing, the left-back Lee Naylor, from Wolverhampton.

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