Newcastle United's pursuit of Darren Bent has collapsed after it emerged that the club were only willing to pay £2million for the Aston Villa striker.
The Journal understands that the club are now ready to move on with a loan move for Loic Remy after showing their hand on Bent.
The striker is understood to be unimpressed by United's stance - while Villa last night stressed there had been no official offer for the forward. But Newcastle's interest – which was confirmed by Alan Pardew – is long-standing and dates back to Derek Llambias' tenure.
United are also frustratingly back to square one on their striker hunt, with further questions surrounding Joe Kinnear's role and remit.
Meanwhile, Sammy Ameobi admits this is a “make or break” season for his Newcastle United career – after Alan Pardew hailed him as a “potential starter” next season.
Ameobi’s form has caught the eye of Pardew.
And he is now determined to secure his future at Newcastle, ruling out a loan move as a “last resort”.
The United forward had a bruising campaign last season, catching the eye with some noteworthy performances in the first few months before finding life more difficult as Newcastle began to struggle. Those growing pains were understandable in his first year as a full-time member of the senior squad but there will be no excuses if he fails to make an impact this season – especially as he knows judgements will be made on him as a Premier League player.
The 21-year-old has started pre-season in fine fettle and linked up well with Papiss Cisse at St Mirren on Tuesday night.
But there is a big difference between looking sharp in summer tune-ups and making an impact in the top flight, which is something Ameobi is desperate to do with Newcastle.
He ended last season on loan at Newcastle’s North East neighbours Middlesbrough, who have an interest in bringing him back this term.
But Ameobi – who was pinpointed as a “potential first-team player” by Alan Pardew on Tuesday evening – says that a loan move would probably be the precursor to him leaving Newcastle for good.
Naturally he wants to avoid that fate as he looks to finally capitalise on the potential that sent him soaring into England Under-21 contention 18 months ago.
“It’s been a great start to pre-season for me and Dummy (Paul Dummett). It’s been about the application we have both put in and that’s what it’s all about really,” he said. “I’ve always been told I’ve got good ability but that’s not all you need. I have to apply it in the right way and I’m trying to put that in to my game.”
Of all the doubts about Ameobi that were expressed last year, his professionalism and attitude was never in question and once again he is making the right noises ahead of a new campaign. United’s parsimony in the transfer market – they hope to broker a deal for a striker before the weekend after holding talks with Loic Remy’s agent and Darren Bent’s advisers – may also play into his hands.
He said: “I don’t want to go out on loan this year, I want to play here. Going out will be a last resort if things don’t work out but this is where I want to be. I want to be a success in the Premier League, fingers crossed.
“This is a big season for me, it’s make or break. I will either be playing Premier League or further down the leagues. I want to be here at the top level. I’ve had a good start to pre-season – I want to keep that going.”
For Pardew, putting a brave face on laborious recruitment attempts that will undoubtedly frustrate him, he also faces the challenge of re-igniting the enthusiasm of some his fringe squad members.
One of his successes in the fifth-placed finish season was to be able to integrate players who were on the edges of his squad to such an extent that they were able to step straight in when required.
He wants to do the same this season, and admits the form of Sammy Ameobi and Dummett has given him food for thought.
“I have always had that policy of keeping everyone motivated and everyone with the group. Sometimes somebody pops out,” said Pardew.
“At the minute Sammy and Dummy have put their head above the parapet and now they have to stay there. That’s the hard bit.”
CELTIC managed to hold on to a 1-0 lead in the first leg of their fixture with Swedish champions Elfsborg.
Kris Commons’ header after 76 minutes separated the two sides at Parkhead, with the Scottish side aiming to defend that in Scandinavia next Wednesday.
Much of the attention was on Mo Bangura, who took his place in the Elfsborg side against his parent club, who had tried and failed to prevent the 24-year-old striker, on loan to the Swedes for one year, from playing. Bangura was jeered each time he touched the ball.