Villa and City set their sights on Magpie Martins

Last updated at 10:12 09 January 2008

Aston Villa and Manchester City have made official inquiries about Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins.

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The Nigerian is currently away on African Nations Cup duty and will not return until next month.

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Obafemi Martins

Yet that has not put interested parties off the former Inter Milan star.

No bids have been made but Newcastle might sell if they get the right offer.

There was a £13million release clause in Martins' contract when he signed for the Toon, though he has recently been in discussions to remove the figure from his agreement.

Martins is a popular player with fans on Tyneside.

Even so, he has become frustrated at being asked to play out wide at times rather than down the middle.

He believes his best position is as a central striker.

A source close to Martins told The Sun: "There is a lot of interest in Oba and he is not sure where he stands at Newcastle."

If Martins was to be sold, it would help under-pressure Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce to finance moves for his priority buys in this month's transfer window — new defenders.