'Mackem Slayer' to depart St James' Park?

Shola Ameobi has admitted that he could leave Newcastle United at the end of the season.

Shola Ameobi has spent his whole career at Newcastle United and it would be a shame to see him depart the club. However his contract is up at the end of the season and the Magpies are reportedly yet to begin contract talks with him.

Ameobi is nicknamed "The Mackem Slayer" by Magpies fans due to his phenomenal record against Sunderland. He has scored seven goals in the Tyne-Wear derby games, a record only bettered by the great Jackie Milburn who scored 11. Shola may not get another chance to feature in the game though, he started in the 3-0 defeat earlier this month.

He scored his first two derby goals against Sunderland in a match back in October 2005. He scored two goals in three minutes to help his side to a 3-2 win.

He also bagged two in the incredible 5-1 thrashing of Sunderland in their first season back in the top flight after a year in the Championship. In March 2012 he came off the bench to score a 91st-minute equaliser but he could find himself without a club in the summer.

He has worn the famous black-and-white stripes 394 times and will hopefully reach the 400 milestone before the end of the season. He would overtake Milburn (397) in the process. 

He has scored 77 goals in that time, not the best of records but Ameobi has never been a prolific striker. Despite that he always gives a passionate display for his beloved club, and has been a great target-man for them.

Earlier this season he was key as Newcastle went on a great run which saw them pick up victories against Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, being the perfect foil for Loic Remy.

He knows it may be his last season at the club, but it won't change the way he approaches the games.

"After the summer, my future is unclear," he told the Shields Gazette.

"Basically, I'll do what I've always done. Like I've always said, I've never taken it (playing for Newcastle) for granted. Every time I step on that pitch, I relish it."

"When it does finally end, it'll be a sad moment, but at the moment my focus is trying to help this club."

"That's what I've always tried to do, and that will never change."

Ameobi looks set to play at this summer's World Cup with Nigeria, who he has only been playing for since November 2012. A starring role at the World Cup could lead to a lot of interest in him. It is, after all, the greatest stage to show off your talents when you are hoping to impress potential suitors.

The Super Eagles face Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran in their group and will fancy their chances of making the last-16.

Even if he does leave the Toon Army, there will still be one Ameobi adorning the shirt. Sammy has started the last three games and looks set to have a bright future in the game.

image: © blenky64

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