Newcastle United are pondering loaning out Sammy Ameobi - as they weigh up a New Year temporary move for long-term target Wilfried Zaha.
The Journal understands Championship neighbours Middlesbrough have expressed interest in moving again for Ameobi, although that pre-dated the midweek appointment of Aitor Karanka to the Riverside hot-seat.
Even so, United have had a number of second-tier clubs express interest in Ameobi – who has worked his way to the fringes of the first-team squad again this season.
Now Alan Pardew has ten days to decide whether Ameobi’s progress is better served by working with the senior set-up or leaving for a month to bolster his experience before returning at the turn of the year.
United have until November 28, the end of the so-called ‘emergency’ loan window, to decide what approach to take with Ameobi. They are also looking to find clubs for Haris Vuckic and Gael Bigirimana, who has attracted interest from former club Coventry City.
It is a much tougher decision for Pardew on Ameobi, who has featured regularly from the bench this season. The United chief was vocal in his praise of the younger Ameobi brother over the summer and used him in the Capital One Cup games against Morecambe and Leeds before opting to play a strong side in the fourth round clash with Manchester City.
His future is also put into some sort of context by United’s ongoing interest in Manchester United winger Zaha (below), who will be available on loan in January.
The Journal understands Newcastle have made contact with the Old Trafford club to ascertain the terms of any loan – although they appear to still be some distance away from striking a deal for the England under-21 wide man.
Pardew is desperate to add wide options to his Newcastle squad, having expressed reservations about Jonas Gutierrez’s long-term future over the summer.
He had identified a number of potential options – with Norwich’s Anthony Pilkington understood to be one player mentioned during the summer transfer window – but Zaha would be the ideal player for Pardew.
Manchester United do not want to write off their investment in the former Crystal Palace man but the 20-year-old has failed to earn a place in David Moyes’ plans, having only played once for the club in the Capital One Cup since moving from South London in the summer.
The Red Devils are understood to have made him available, which has alerted Fulham and Everton. Newcastle believe their association with the player’s representatives, which came when they first tried to sign him two years ago, may tip the balance in their favour.
Meanwhile, United expect to learn in the next 48 hours whether Steven Taylor will be charged by the Football Association for Friday’s ill-judged Tweet to Massaido Haidara. The United defender posted a picture which sparked controversy on the social networking site and the FA have written to the defender to ask for an explanation.
Taylor has apologised but it may yet lead to action similar to that which cost Rio Ferdinand after he made a racially insensitive remark on the site.
Black-and-white eyes will be trained on Paris tomorrow as France look to overturn a 2-0 deficit in their World Cup play-off qualifier with Ukraine. Loic Remy is set for a start as Les Bleus have little option but to go for broke after a disappointing first leg which saw them concede two second-half goals to leave their World Cup chances hanging by a thread.
It was a positive weekend of international action for United’s Shola Ameobi and Cheick Tiote, who celebrated World Cup qualification with Nigeria and Ivory Coast respectively.