Shola Ameobi admits his lengthy association at Newcastle United could be coming to an end, as his contract enters its final few months.
Having initially linked up with their youth ranks in 1995, the 32-year-old has spent his entire professional career at St James Park save for a six-match loan spell at Stoke City in 2008. Whilst he has rarely been considered an automatic first team pick, he has racked up 388 appearances in all competitions, and has scored 77 goals.
Ameobi has started just 10 of his 18 appearances this season, and his goal in the League Cup second round win at League Two club Morecambe back in August is his only one of the campaign. And with his contract set to expire at the end of the term, the Nigerian international admits his time on Tyneside could be coming to an end.
“My future is unclear,” he told the Shields Gazette. “Basically, I’ll do what I’ve always done. I’ve never taken it (playing for Newcastle) for granted. Every time I step on that pitch, I relish it. When it does finally end, it’ll be a sad moment, but at the moment my focus is trying to help this club. That’s what I’ve always tried to do, and that will never change.”
Another player who has been linked with an exit from Newcastle is France international Mathieu Debuchy, who could be plying his trade with former Magpies and Lille team-mate and compatriot Yohan Cabaye at Paris St Germain next season. Laurent Blanc is believed to be interested in signing the 28-year-old fullback, who told reporters: “Paris? Well I am here until the end of the season and for next year, but I do not know.”
The Magpies, meanwhile, have reacted angrily to a report in the Sunday Express which suggested Alan Pardew would be sacked if his side fails to beat Aston Villa on Sunday. As well as denying this to be the case, the Premier League side have banned the tabloid from St James Park, having insisted there is no substance to the story whatsoever.
What is clear, though, is that Newcastle will certainly have identified the clash with the Midlands side as one they should be collecting three points from. Since a 5-1 win against Stoke City on Boxing Day, which briefly raised hopes of a top-four challenge, they have lost six of their subsequent eight games, leaving them in ninth position.