NEWCASTLE UNITED have released Shola Ameobi and rejected the opportunity to turn Luuk de Jong’s loan move from Borussia Monchengladbach into a permanent transfer.
Ameobi’s 14-year association with the Magpies has come to an end after he was not offered a new contract to remain at St James’ Park.
The 32-year-old made 397 senior appearances after graduating from Newcastle’s academy in September 2000, scoring 79 goals.
He will be best remembered for his seven Tyne-Wear derby goals against Sunderland, although he rarely enjoyed an extended run as the Magpies’ first-choice centre-forward and was often asked to play second fiddle to the likes of Alan Shearer, Craig Bellamy, Obafemi Martins and, more recently, Loic Remy.
His final goal in a Newcastle shirt came in the 3-0 win over Cardiff City on the penultimate weekend of the season, although his final act for the club was his somewhat farcical dismissal at Liverpool as United lost 2-1.
Ameobi was one of nine players to formally leave St James’ Park yesterday, with de Jong and Loic Remy both departing at the end of their loan spells.
Newcastle wanted to sign Remy permanently, but having finished last season with 14 Premier League goals to his name, the France international is poised to move on to bigger and better things.
His representatives have already spoken to officials at Liverpool and Arsenal, although he is not expected to decide on his future until he has finished representing France in the World Cup finals.
In January, it was anticipated that de Jong would not be going anywhere this summer, as Newcastle officials fought hard to insert an automatic buy-out clause into the loan agreement they agreed with their counterparts at Borussia Monchengladbach.
The Magpies had the right to buy the Holland international for around £8m, but opted to tear up the deal after a string of disappointing displays in the second half of the season.
De Jong did not score a single goal in his 12 appearances in a Newcastle shirt, and looked a pale imitation of the prolific marksman that the Magpies had been tracking three years earlier, when he was terrorising Dutch defences with FC Twente.
De Jong will now return to Borussia Monchengladbach, although it is unlikely that he has much of a future with the Bundesliga club.
Dan Gosling and Conor Newton have both been released, and have already secured new clubs. Gosling was confirmed as a Bournemouth player around a week ago, with Newton agreeing to join Rotherham United yesterday.
Youngsters Michael Richardson, Steven Logan, Brandon Miele and Jonathan Mitchell have also severed their ties with the Magpies.
“I would like to thank each of these players for the effort, attitude and application they have put in while at the club,” said Alan Pardew. “However, I have to make a special mention of Shola Ameobi, who has been an incredible servant to Newcastle United.
“Such loyalty and commitment in the modern game is rare, and Shola was not just a great player on the pitch but a key figure off it too. He is a leader of men, a great role model for our younger players and I wish him well for the remainder of his career.”
Ameobi added: “Following discussions with Newcastle United, both parties felt it was the right time for us to part company.
“I've been at Newcastle United all my career and enjoyed every moment and always worn the famous shirt with pride. I am now looking forward to starting a new chapter in my career.
“I would like to place on record a big thank you to everyone at Newcastle United. I wish the club great success in the future and I'm sure with the team and management they have, Newcastle United will go from strength to strength.
"Finally, a big thank you to the supporters who have always been fantastic. I hope to come back to Newcastle United one day in some capacity to help repay some of the faith and loyalty that everybody connected to the club has shown me during my time here."
Meanwhile, Newcastle will complete their pre-season schedule with a home game against Spanish side Real Sociedad on Sunday, August 10 (1.30pm).