Middlesbrough are keeping tabs on Sammy Ameobi – with Newcastle United open to offers for their Academy graduate forward.
United hope to make at least five additions to the squad before the season starts and two of them will be in the forward positions that Ameobi covets. The club have a long-standing interest in Hertha Berlin forward Pierre-Michel Lasogga and are hoping for further talks on a deal – but there are other targets alongside Montpellier’s much-coveted playmaker Remy Cabella.
If Newcastle manage to land their targets then that would open the way for Ameobi to depart St James’ Park, with Boro among the clubs understood to have made inquiries about the player.
United will assess Ameobi’s progress in pre-season but he was told last summer that he was expected to make the most of the opportunities that came his way. Despite a late flurry of chances to impress, it was another frustrating campaign for a player who signed a long-term contract in 2010. Boro are not the only team interested in the younger Ameobi brother, with a clutch of Championship clubs including Sheffield Wednesday looking at the forward. But their proximity would make them a potentially easy switch for a player who is still determined to make a success of his Newcastle career.
Middlesbrough appear to be operating within tight margins as they plot their own summer overhaul. But once they have moved on Marvin Emnes and Lukas Jutkiewicz Teesside sources have indicated they will look to sign two forwards.
Ameobi – who spent a successful loan spell at the Riverside – is one of the names being considered by Aitor Karanka.
The Newcastle forward said last week that he still believed he had a part to play in Alan Pardew’s plans but he is savvy enough to know that his opportunities are not going to be unlimited.
“Next season’s the big one for me – it’s my opportunity,” he told the club’s official website.
“I’ve got one year left on my contract and I’ve got to prove I’m good enough to be a Newcastle player so I’m going to be working very hard over the summer to hopefully start fast next season.
“I was fit and I was enjoying playing at that time. It was just a shame about the injury. Hopefully working over the summer will help to prevent injury and I’ll be able to show what I can do.
“I’m not a kid anymore – I’m a grown man – so I fully expect that I’ll be treated that way. I’m going to put in the effort and if I’m not good enough, I’ll have to move on.” As Ameobi’s future looks uncertain, so too does Hatem Ben Arfa’s.
He was linked with a move to Qatar over the weekend – a switch that his representative Michel Ouazine said would not happen – but there remains huge doubts about whether he can play a part for Newcastle under Alan Pardew, who he has fallen out with.
Former United star Olivier Bernard admits he does not understand why either Ben Arfa or Sylvain Marveaux has not been used more extensively by a Newcastle side that seemed to be perilously short on creativity last season.
He said: “They are two players who can provide Newcastle with the one thing they lacked last season – a killer pass into the box. On their day they are top-notch Premier League players.
“But they have not been given a chance. Marveaux is a fine winger and Hatem Ben Arfa will win you games if he plays week in, week out. It’s such a waste of talent.”