Magilton confirms Ameobi interest

BLUES boss Jim Magilton has confirmed his interest in signing Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi.We revealed on Wednesday how Magilton was going back in for the 26-year-old who has realised he no longer has a future on Tyneside.

Derek Davis

BLUES boss Jim Magilton has confirmed his interest in signing Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi.

We revealed on Wednesday how Magilton was going back in for the 26-year-old who has realised he no longer has a future on Tyneside.

Newcastle and Town are close enough in their valuation, thought to be around £2.5m, for Ipswich to approach the former England-Under 21 striker.

Magilton said: “Newcastle have given us permission to talk to the lad and we have been in contact with his agent.

“I leave the initial talks to Derek Bowden and if we get to a point of agreeing, then I will sit down and look him in the eye and see if he has the desire I'm looking for.

Most Read

“Newcastle are looking to offload the boy as he is the last year of his contract.

Although negotiations are still in the early stages Magilton is confident he can land a potential who has been recommended by former Magpies boss Sir Bobby Robson and his scout Charlie woods who is now working for Town.

Magilton said: “We are looking to bring in the right sort of quality, and we have done well to get Campo and Thatcher.

Charlie(Woods) and Sir Bobby know Shola chapter and verse, and I will talk to them about him.

“Sir Bobby loves him. Glenn Roeder gave him a lot of games and he has great ability. It is just a case of harnessing that ability and giving him a sustained run of games.

“He has had to deal with the Shearer's, Kluivert's, Bellamy's, Owen's and that sort of competition, but he has still made about 50 starts.”

Ameobi has one year left on his current contact and Kevin Keegan has made it clear he can go with Stoke City, West Brom and Norwich also keen, but Town are in the box seat and all he has to do is convince Magilton he has the desire for a promotion fight.

“He is a lad with immense promise but at 26-year's-old he needs to start fulfilling that promise. He didn't have a fantastic time on loan at Stoke but he was probably hampered by an injury.

“It is up to him now. If he wants to hang around Newcastle and then be a free agent then fine but if he wants to come here and show a desire to play at championship level then we would be a club interested in him.”

Financing the deal should not be a problem although Newcastle will want a large chunk up front and then add-ons.

It is possible an initial loan deal would be arranged with an option to sign permanently if Town are promoted.

Either way Magilton knows it won't be cheap.

He said: “If we want to sign strikers then it is big bucks.

“Look at Martin Paterson, £1.2m, Nicky Maynard who has never played at this level went for £2.2m, Iain Hume £1.5m and in today's market that is what you have to pay. That is not my department that is sorted by the owner, Derek Bowden and the selling club.”

Talks will continue today, but it is unlikely Ameobi would sign in time for him to play at Burnley and instead could be one of seven substitutes on the bench for Newcastle against Manchester United this weekend.