Shola Ameobi was last night named in Nigeria's World Cup squad and could now be on his way to Australia to continue his club career.
The former Newcastle United player was, as expected, picked by the Super Eagles’ head coach Stephen Keshi among the 23 players he is taking to Brazil.
Nigeria are in Group F alongside Argentina, Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote was also confirmed as a World Cup player when Ivory Coast released their squad before yesterday’s deadline set down by Fifa.
Tiote is a regular starter for the highly-rated Ivorians ,who face Colombia, Greece and Japan, so he was never in real danger of missing out.
While the name of Ameobi divided the Newcastle supporters like no other, few if any will begrudge him this final chance to appear on the world stage.
And after Brazil, the 32-year-old could be on his way to Australia if a deal can be brokered.
Sydney FC have entered into talks with the striker as, incredibly, the replacement for Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero, who has quit the A-League for the MLS in America. A Sydney spokesman confirmed the club is in discussion with Ameobi’s representatives.
New York City have also been linked to the veteran who left St James’ Park last week after scoring 72 times for the club along with Hull City.
However, reports in Australia, apparently confirmed by Sydney FC, claimed contract talks were at an advanced stage and Ameobi could see out his career on the other side of the world after Brazil.
Nigeria coach Keshi selected his squad on Friday, following his side’s 2-2 draw with Scotland, but only told the players yesterday. He said: “These players have all convinced me of their abilities.
“Blimey, it’s a good, difficult decision to make regarding the naming of the final 23. We have no choice but to do it – otherwise we will be failing in our duties.
“The players have been so committed, so professional you feel like shedding a tear because some of them must just go home.”
The Journal also understands talks began yesterday between Newcastle and Panathiaikos regarding the long-term future of Mehdi Abeid.
The midfielder has been superb in Greece and head coach Giannis Anastasiou is keen to keep the midfilder, with another loan deal being the most likely option.
Panathinaikos could only afford a fee of £300,000 and even then would have to sell on of their own players to facilitate a permanent deal for the Algerian, who joined Newcastle in 2011.
Alan Pardew has given no indication any of the players loaned out last season had a long-term future at the club.
However, Abeid was a success for the Greek Cup winners and it would be surprising if Pardew didn’t at least give the 21-year-old a chance to impress.
Abeid, a fringe player at St James’ Park, scored ten goals from his 30 appearances and played a major part in securing the club a Champions League place.