And with Michael Owen and Mark Viduka looking certainties to leave Tyneside unless they are prepared to take massive pay cuts, it will leave United with an all-new strike-force.
Young guns Andy Carroll and Nile Ranger will be keen to make their mark, but Alan Shearer will also be looking to add an experienced frontman who can cope with the rigours of battling it out with Championship defences.
Martins has been linked with a move to Serie A outfit Fiorentina, but it’s understood that a clutch of Serie A sides are also interested in taking him back to Italy. United signed Martins from Inter Milan under Glenn Roeder, but while the Nigeria international has proved to be a popular figure on the terraces, he has endured a season of frustration due to injury.
Martins left Shearer far from happy just hours before the Stoke City away game last month when complaining of a recurrence of his groin injury meaning that the Newcastle manager had to re-jig his tactics and system shortly before the game, after a week of preparing a side including the number 9.
Yet the Chronicle understands that Martins would consider quitting the Magpies to return to Italy following last Sunday’s relegation to the Championship. Martins has been a frequent visitor to Milan since joining the black and whites and still has a lot of love for the country in which he made his name.
And after eight goals during an injury hit campaign, he could be ready for pastures new.
Martins was hurt while scoring a goal in the 3-0 win away to Portsmouth in December and surgery in Germany with renowned groin specialist Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck followed early in January.
But he never seemed to be the same player after the operation and it quickly emerged that Martins required more treatment.
Martins struggled on in the latter part of the campaign after Shearer asked him to play through the pain barrier in order to help retain top-flight status, and his most positive response was his strike against Middlesbrough in the 3-1 win after coming off the bench. This week he notified the Nigerian FA that he was unable to play in last night’s friendly for the Super Eagles, nor the World Cup qualifier with Kenya on June 7.
However, Martins will travel with the Nigerian side to offer support to his team-mates.
Martins has scored 34 goals since signing for Newcastle in his three seasons on Tyneside and his departure would also free up another large chunk of the Toon’s £74m wage bill.
Meanwhile, United are understood to be making around 150 staff redundant in the wake of their relegation to the Championship.
The club has yet to confirm the scale of the job losses as it restructures for life outside the Premier League.