Shola Ameobi has given the clearest indication yet that he’s set to leave Newcastle United this summer.
The veteran striker claims to be in his best physical shape in years, but admitted it might be another club that benefits from his services.
The striker told The Journal that he was unsure whether his time at his home town club was about to end.
Loï¿½c Rï¿½my has arrived with others sure to follow, even if the pursuit of Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis seems to have gone on all summer.
Alan Pardew is relaxed about Ameobi’s position and is in no rush to hurry the 31-year-old out the door before his current contract ends next year.
However, the longest-serving player at Newcastle feels that a new challenge may just be what he needs if he is to have any chance of playing for Nigeria at the World Cup in Brazil.
Ameobi said: “This is a big year for me. This is the last year of my contract and I want to put myself in the best position, physically, to compete at Newcastle or somewhere else if I do go.
“It’s up to me to make sure I’m right whatever happens.
“For me, the World Cup is a real target. I would love to qualify with Nigeria and then make the squad. For that to happen,
I need to be fit, healthy and playing football. This is a massive year for me. As a professional footballers you want to play on the biggest stage, and what is bigger than the World Cup?
“If this is my last season at the club, then I will give everything on and off the pitch for Newcastle as I always have. If I am here, I will be no different.
“There is going to be a lot of competition for places. There will be more strikers coming in, which is great for the club, because we need more bodies in the squad compared to last season.”
In another interview with Sky, Ameobi reiterated his belief that his days at St James’ Park may be coming to an end.
Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday have been linked with a player who would not find it difficult to fix himself up with a new team.
Ameobi said: “If they (the club) bring in strikers I might have to see what else is out there because I need to be playing football. That is really important for me this year.
“I have played here all my career and I love this club to bits, but I have to put myself and my family and my situation first now and make sure I am getting the games in because that hasn’t happened in recent years.” Newcastle are back at St James’ Park today and will take on Portuguese side Braga, their last game before the Premier League campaign begins at Manchester City on August 19.
Only one new signing has been made, Remy, and Pardew will to address the media after this evening’s game regarding where the club are in terms of signing more players.
The Gomis situation has dragged on far too long.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas was again quoted as saying Gomis had to leave his club or sign a long-term deal. Pardew had hoped to have two strikers in by now and, while that deadline has passed, Newcastle are determined to add to the arrival of Remy.
Ameobi is well aware of the plans, but the fact he may be edged out of the door has not detrimentally affected his pre-season.
Speaking at the opening of the newly-named NINE bar at the Stadium, Ameobi revealed: “There were six weeks when I couldn’t do anything because I got injured towards the end of last season.
“So it was important in my mind to be physically ready so I could get going as soon as we started pre-season. I have done a lot of work in the gym to ensure I was ready for it. I do feel good. It’s the best I have felt in a long time.”