Newcastle United, as their fans are all too aware, are yet to dip their toes into the transfer market, but it should not be all doom and gloom on Tyneside.
The club have done one decent piece of business by persuading Papiss Cisse to end his boycott on account of the club’s Wonga sponsorship, as reported by the BBC.
Cisse showed his value to the Magpies with a sweet, curling effort into the top corner in the 2-0 win over St. Mirren in a preseason friendly on Tuesday.
However, come August 19 and the opening game of the Premier League season against Manchester City, Pardew may still be working with the same group of players he had at his disposal last term.
Such a scenario may well be a worrying one for Newcastle fans, given their poor showing last season, but there is talent aplenty in the Magpies’ squad and one player Pardew is keen to see step up is Sammy Ameobi.
Speaking to the Newcastle Chronicle, Pardew said:
Sammy has been terrific for us so far since we started back. He had a great week in Portugal. He was beating people, not just our own players in training, but the opposition as well.
He now understands what it’s like when senior professionals demand a performance from you. That is a major difference from playing in the reserves or coming on as a sub for us late in a match.
Sammy learned that his application needs to be spot on and it’s paying off.
The 21-year-old is the younger brother of Shola, the forward who has given sterling service to Newcastle over a 13-year professional career with the club.
For all Shola’s commitment and work ethic—often in thankless tasks when asked to lead the line on his own against some of the Premier League’s meanest defences—his sibling does appear to possess the greater talent.
Blessed with decent pace and with a trick or two up his sleeve, Sammy Ameobi has long been rated highly by the club.
He made his first-team debut in May of 2011, and bagged his first goal one game later when climbing off the bench to score the winner in a Carling Cup tie with Scunthorpe in August of the same year.
He went on to make a further 12 appearances that campaign, as confirmed by Soccerbase.
The youngster won many admirers in his first full season in Magpies colours, but he did not show anywhere near the same sort of form in the following campaign. He was not alone in performing below par in the black and white of Newcastle in 2012/13, as the team struggled throughout the season and only narrowly avoided relegation.
Pardew sent the younger Ameobi on loan to Middlesbrough in the second half of the season and the manager feels the move has proved to be a wake-up call for the laid-back forward.
“He is a lovely lad with a mild manner, but that winning mentality is everything in football,” Pardew told the Chronicle. “You need that to make it in the game.
“There has been a big difference in him from a year ago. A lot of that is down to the professionalism he learned while playing for Middlesbrough on loan towards the end of last season.”
With Pardew having yet to add to his ranks so far this summer, there is an opportunity for a youngster to step up. Ameobi could well be the one.
He is comfortable on the left or in a support-striker role. And while Pardew toils in the transfer market, the door is ajar for a player to work as a foil for the now reintegrated Cisse.
Pardew will likely give Ameobi his chance and does not want him to waste it, as he told the Chronicle: "This is a big, big year for him."
It’s a big season for Newcastle and it could be a big season for Ameobi Jr. as well.