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Posted by From Sport desk on 2008/05/18 | Views: 1304 |


Newcastle Manager, Kevin Keegan, has warned Arsenal for making a move for Obafemi Martins, telling the Gunners’ boss that a bid would not be welcomed.

• Keegan warns Wenger

Newcastle Manager, Kevin Keegan, has warned Arsenal for making a move for Obafemi Martins, telling the Gunners’ boss that a bid would not be welcomed.

The Nigerian ace has been continually linked with a possible move to the Emirates Stadium with the Gunners boss, Arsene Wenger, thought to be a big admirer of the former Inter Milan forward.

Reports have suggested that Arsenal were lining up a bid for the player in the summer as they look to strengthen their squad for a renewed title challenge next season.
However, Keegan told the Evening Chronicle that he has not received any bid for Martins and would not welcome one for the jet-heeled forward.

"I haven't received any bid on Martins and I want to keep all my players and add to them if I can,” Keegan began. "Anyone that goes would be a bit of a blow, especially if something like that happens later in the summer.
"However, Arsenal have definitely not approached me’" he added.
Martins agent, Chris Nathaniel, told last week that Arsenal had made no formal approach for the player.

Meanwhile, Keegan will head off for his summer break both disappointed and relieved. A 3–1 final day defeat at Everton last Sunday handed the 57-year-old a share in an unwanted club record low points total for a Barclays Premier League season. The club's return of 43 points matched their finish under Glenn Roeder 12 months ago, their lowest in 15 years in the Premier League.

However, Keegan admitted there was a point when he feared it could turn out much, much worse. He said: "I said we didn't want to go down as the worst ever, and we have equalled it.
"What can I say? It's disappointing, but at one time, it didn't look like we would get that many. You have just got to be grateful for small mercies. We have had a transition in the manager, we haven't had a transition of players because we haven't signed any yet.

"It's not a surprise. When things don't go smoothly at a football club, you don't pick up the points you should. It's definitely going to go down as a disappointing season. It might have been a lot, lot better."
Keegan succeeded Sam Allardyce as manager in January with the club marooned on 26 points from 21 games and in the midst of what was to prove a three-month wait for a league win.
He had to wait 10 games to taste victory, but then, saw his side put together a seven-match unbeaten run to secure their top-flight status.

Ultimately, however, his 16 league fixtures yielded 17 points, although that run included trips to Aston Villa, Arsenal and Liverpool and home games against top two, Manchester United and Chelsea, and Keegan was delighted with the response of his players.
He said: "When I took over and looked at the fixtures, we only had one game away against the teams around us. Every game was against teams in the top half. We had to play the whole top four either home or away.

"I think the players have done marvellously to get together and sort it out. It was a challenge. The bigger the club, the bigger the scalp it is in this league.
"There will be players who will go home and reflect over the summer and think they could have had better seasons and contributed a bit more, and players who think they should have been given more chances. And there will be players who know they have given everything and just not had enough around them."

Just how Keegan manages to reshape his squad ahead of next season's challenge for fifth place, his stated aim for the new campaign remains to be seen.
He emerged from a meeting recently with Owner, Mike Ashley, Chairman, Chris Mort, Deputy Chairman, Derek Llambias, Executive Director (Football), Dennis Wise and Vice President (Player Recruitment), Tony Jimenez either chastened or bullish depending on which version of events you subscribe to.

His list of transfer targets was handed over several weeks ago and he is now awaiting developments. However, he remains keen to tie up England striker, Michael Owen in a new deal and would have been disappointed to see reports this weekend suggesting that Manchester United will attempt to price him away from St James' Park this summer as he enters the final year of his current contract.
But asked about the claims, he said: "Don't believe all that you have read."

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