New twist in Ameobi saga

David Cuffley Striker Shola Ameobi's departure from Newcastle appears to have moved a step nearer with his removal from the list of first team players on the club's official website.

David Cuffley

Striker Shola Ameobi's departure from Newcastle appears to have moved a step nearer with his removal from the list of first team players on the club's official website.

But it remains doubtful whether Norwich City have the financial clout to enter the bidding for the 26-year-old Nigerian-born forward.

Fresh reports suggest Newcastle will offload the striker for an initial £2m - but that City's East Anglian rivals, Ipswich Town, have followed up their initial interest with an offer rising to £3.5m based on appearances and promotion to the Premiership.


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Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan is on holiday but reports in the North East claim Town are prepared to pay £2m plus another £1m based on appearances and a final £500,000 payment if they clinch top-flight football. Ipswich have refused to comment.

Ameobi's absence from the squad list suggests he is surplus to requirements at St James' Park after a disappointing six-game loan stint at Championship runners-up Stoke at the end of last season.

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Instead, Keegan is believed to be keen to recruit France's £10m-rated St Etienne striker Bafetimbi Gomis.

Ameobi's agent, Steve Denos, told the Evening News earlier this week that the player would relish a reunion with City boss Glenn Roeder but insisted there had been no approach from Carrow Road. Denos was not available for comment last night.

Roeder has said he believes Ameobi is a Premier League player - and he may be putting all his eggs in one basket at upwards of £2m for one player, plus salary.

Meanwhile, striker Martin Paterson, another player Roeder admires, has been told he is going nowhere by Scunthorpe chairman Steve Wharton despite his written transfer request and public comments on his desire for a return to the Championship.

“In light of recent interviews, Iron chairman Steve Wharton has spoken to Martin Paterson and explained the club's position to him,” said a club statement. “There is nothing further to add other than to re-iterate that Martin is not for sale.”

Leeds United are reported to be ready to offer former England striker Andy Cole a two-year player-coach deal at Elland Road.

The 36-year-old had been linked with the Canaries, where former Newcastle team-mate Lee Clark is assistant manager.

Cole joined Sunderland on a one-year contract last summer. He spent the second half of the season on loan at Burnley but declined a permanent move.

He is understood to be keen to stay in the north for family reasons.

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