SHOLA Ameobi is set for a final fling at Newcastle United – after underlining why he has had such longevity at the club.
That’s the view of manager Alan Pardew, who could field Ameobi against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night.
Long-serving Ameobi scored his first Premier League goal since December 2012 in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Swansea City.
The striker – whose St James’s Park contract ends at the end of the campaign – bullied the visiting defence.
And Pardew – whose side are clinging on to a top-10 place in the Premier League after a dismal run of results – could pair Ameobi with fit-again leading scorer Loic Remy, who came off the bench against Swansea after recovering from the calf problem which had seen him miss six games.
Remy and Ameobi had a successful spell up front earlier in a once-promising season which has unravelled alarmingly in recent months.
“I thought he was a threat,” Pardew said.
“It was good that he got a goal. He comes in for critcism, but he does get important goals.”
Ameobi’s strike put United ahead, but two strikes from Wilfried Bony condemned Newcastle to a club-record fifth successive Premier League defeat. The goal, however, was no consolation to Ameobi.
“It was a shame it didn’t have more significance,” added Pardew.
“Really and truly, we should have had a 1-1 at the very least.
“Therefore it doesn’t carry that much significance, only for Shola, and he doesn’t really care about that. He’s a real team player.”
Ameobi – who has made 394 career appearances and scored 78 goals for Newcastle – is set for talks with Pardew over his future at the end of the season.
However, the odds are seemingly on the Nigeria international – who hopes to go to the summer’s World Cup finals – ending his long association with United, who he feels must invest heavily during the summer’s transfer window.
After the Swansea game, a candid Ameobi talked of the “limited resources” at Pardew’s disposal.
“When we lose one or two key players, it hurts the team badly,” Ameobi told BBC Newcastle.
“That is what the manager has had to put up with, unfortunately.
“It is something the club have to put right for next season. We need quality players, and we need a quality squad as well.”