SHOLA AMEOBI will discuss his Newcastle United future at the end of the season – with some influential figures at the club pushing for him to be offered a new short-term deal.
With his current contract due to expire in June, Ameobi's future remains extremely uncertain as there have been no moves to initiate talks over an extension to his St James' Park career.
That has been interpreted in some quarters as proof of Newcastle's unwillingness to retain Ameobi, who has been a bit-part performer for the majority of the campaign.
However, it is understood things are not that clear cut, with the 32-year-old's influence in the dressing room and future potential as a coach valued as much as the playing abilities that saw him end a 16-month wait for a Premier League goal in last weekend's defeat to Swansea.
With Loic Remy unlikely to sign a permanent deal on Tyneside and Luuk de Jong having done little to suggest it is worth turning his current loan deal from Borussia Monchengladbach into a full-time contract, the Magpies will be pursuing a number of attacking targets this summer.
ON HIS WAY? There has been plenty of speculation linking Shola Ameobi with a move away from Newcastle United this summer
Whether or not they land them could have a major impact on Ameobi's future, with the striker due to sit down with Alan Pardew and the rest of the Magpies' management team shortly after the final game of the season to discuss his plans.
“We'll discuss everything about my future at the end of the season,” said Ameobi. “I haven't really thought about what might or might not happen at all yet because this isn't the right moment.
“There's a lot going on at the moment, and things are pretty tense. We have to make sure we don't let this season fizzle out, and then once it's finished, that'll be the time to get around a table and talk about the future.”
Between now and then, Ameobi is determined to help Newcastle arrest their recent slump, and is also hoping his increased involvement enhances his chances of making his World Cup debut with Nigeria.
Last month, Nigeria boss Stephen Keshi claimed he would not be selecting players who were not regulars for their club side, comments that cast doubts over Ameobi's involvement in Brazil.
Since then, the veteran has started the Magpies' last two matches, and with Papiss Cisse ruled out of the remainder of the campaign and de Jong also nursing an injury, he should also feature in the club's final three games against Arsenal, Cardiff and Liverpool.
With the opening game of the World Cup now less than two months away, he is hoping his return to the first team will boost his chances of lining up for the Super Eagles as they take on Group F rivals Argentina, Bosnia and Iran.
“I just want to do everything I can for Newcastle, but from a World Cup point of view, then obviously the more I play, the better chance I have of going,” said Ameobi, who played for England Under-21s before switching his international allegiance to Nigeria in 2009. “My focus is on playing for Newcastle because if I do that, then hopefully everything else will take care of itself.
“Make no mistake, I want to play games for this football club and help us do well. That is my priority.
“The World Cup is the World Cup, and any player worth his salt would want to be there. But if I'm not playing for Newcastle then there's a very good chance that I won't be in the Nigeria squad either.”
Prior to this month's 1-0 defeat at Stoke, Ameobi had gone more than two months without starting a Premier League fixture. It was the start of December since he last kicked off two league games in succession, and while the last two results have not gone as planned, he is delighted to be back in the thick of the action.
“It's nice to be back playing,” he said. “Before the Stoke game, it had been a couple of months since I last started a game and it's been a very frustrating spell.
“It was tough being on the fringe of things for so long, but I feel like I'm getting my legs again now and I'm enjoying being back in the team and involved. I'm just trying to help the team as much as I can, and it's just unfortunate that the results haven't been going for us.”