Sacking could stall Martins move

Last updated : 10 January 2008 By Tom Vickers
Villa's £13m move for Nigerian Obafemi Martins may be off after the sacking of Big Sam Allardyce. Martins had become disillusioned with the former Bolton manager, who continued to play the same style of football that he used at the Reebok. This method did not favour the out and out striker who was often given a wide position.
The Claret and Blue were ready to capitalise on the striker's unhappiness and Martin O'Neill had already made an inquiry about a possible move to the Midlands. Man City are also reportedly interested but a new manager at the Magpies is likely to want to keep a prize asset such as Martins.
This could mean that O'Neill will turn his attention back to Jermain Defoe who he has admired for some time now. The England striker has been told he can leave Spurs by boss Juande Ramos and although Defoe wants to stay at White Hart Lane he could be tempted by the promise of first team football.
However, it is unclear as to whether Villa could even offer that prospect with Gabby Agbonlahor showing such great form and the reluctance of the modern day manager to start with two small frontmen. Ironically this is the same problem as Defoe is currently encountering at the Lane, as former manager Martin Jol, and current boss Ramos, have both shown a preference for a little and large combination.
Both Martins and Defoe are what you may call 'natural predators' and they possess a great pedigree. This is something Villa have lacked as strikers such as Luke Moore and Marlon Harewood are particularly goal shy and John Carew is consistently injured. The most likely solution seems to be Defoe.