Blues - Martins in demand
Birmingham have revealed that West Brom and other clubs tried to hijack their move for Obafemi Martins.
Last Updated: 20/02/11 1:07pm
Birmingham City chief scout Paul Montgomery has revealed that West Brom and a number of other clubs tried to hijack their move for Obafemi Martins.
The 26-year-old striker signed on loan for the Blues from Rubin Kazan in January with the option of a permanent transfer in the summer.
Since his arrival at St Andrews the former Inter Milan, Newcastle and Wolfsburg frontman has made three appearances and scored his first goal for the club against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Blues chief scout Montgomery has revealed that a number of teams were interested in the Nigeria international once it became known that he was unhappy in Russia.
"The problem was that his club had given their players time off, and when it came out in the newspapers that he was available, others came into the equation," he told the Birmingham Mail.
"We had arranged to bring him over for his medical, but had to wait three days and at least half-a-dozen clubs made a pitch.
"They offered the Russians more money than us to do a deal, the Russians rang him up and said 'don't sign yet, think about it, we've got this offer instead', da, da, da. But Oba and his agent both stood firm.
"They said he had made a decision, Birmingham were the first to come to him and he felt comfortable with us.
"His exact words were, I believe, 'it's nice to be wanted - I feel part of a family'.
"We were delighted he kept his word when many others in his situation might not have done.
"He was getting phone calls from Peter Odemwingie, his international team-mate, to try and get him to West Brom, and there were German clubs after him."
Montgomery praised Martins for his loyalty and is pleased Rubin were willing to negotiate a sensible deal.
"To his great credit, he kept his word," he added. "When it was indicated that Oba was disgruntled in Russia, being away from his family, playing in minus 15 degrees temperatures, we made contact.
"At first, his club were asking for crazy money. They had paid 18million Euros for him.
"But when they came to a sensible level for a loan, with an option to buy, Oba was delighted.
"He wanted to come back to the Premier League and we had given him that opportunity."