A-League bound? Former Premier League stars Obafemi Martins and Richie De Laet linked with Australia move

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A couple of players with strong pedigree could be on their way Down Under

The A-League recruiting spree looks set to continue with former English Premier League stars Obafemi Martins and Richie De Laet reportedly in discussions to continue their careers in Australia.

Martins, 33, is being pursued by Wellington Phoenix, who are keen to use the FFA's marquee fund to sign the Nigerian striker within the salary cap, according to AAP.

The attacker is on the outer at his Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, having suffered a severe hamstring injury back in April.

Martins has been a regular starter at clubs such as Inter Milan and Newcastle during his career, and was named an MLS All Star while playing for Seattle Sounders in 2015.

Wellington have also been linked with a move for former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien, as the club looks to qualify for the A-League for only the fifth time.

The World Game reports Premier League title winner Richie De Laet is close to joining former coach Warren Joyce at Melbourne City.

The 29-year-old defender made 12 appearances for Leicester as they lifted the Premier League trophy in 2016, and also spent time at Manchester United, when Joyce was coaching the club's under 21's.

De Laet would likely join on loan from his current club Aston Villa, with his contract expiring at the Championship club in 2019.

UPDATE: City officially announced the signing of De Laet on Friday on a season-long loan deal, occupying the club's final marquee position.

De Laet said his relationship with Joyce was a key reason for his move to Australia.

"I’m excited to join a club like Melbourne City with big ambitions, that plays attractive football and has a very strong coaching group, led by a coach I know well, Warren Joyce," De Laet said.

"I enjoyed playing under Warren earlier in my career. He’s a coach that’s always looking help improve players and demands hard work.

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"I’m looking forward to getting out in front of the fans and helping contribute to the team this year."

 

 

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