Underperforming Super Eagles striker, Obafemi Martins, who arrived late for the first day of training at Newcastle yesterday, has been offered an amazing pay rise as the club intend to use the cash bait to hold the player back in their fold as they prepare for the Championship next season.
According to reports, Martins, who had an indifferent season last term for both club and country, is expected to earn Â£65,000 a week from Â£60,000 under the deal he signed three years ago when he joined from Inter Milan.
With the likes of Michael Owen eyeing a move away from Tyneside, Newcastle are desperate to keep the Nigerian hit-man, who has failed to start in Nigeriaâ€™s last two 2010 World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers.
And it is increasingly appearing likely that Martins might be condemned to play Championship football next season after it emerged last night that Stoke chairman Peter Coates has dismissed speculation linking the club with a bid for Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins.
TheÂ Potters,Â asÂ Stoke are called, have been linked with a number of strikers, with West Hamâ€™s Dean Ashton being the main one, but Coates said Martins was not on their list.
â€œThereâ€™s nothing in that one. We havenâ€™t had contact or discussions about him at all,â€ he said.
â€œI donâ€™t know where the story has come from, but there is no substance to it.â€