After being on the butt end of countless jokes on Setanta's I'm On Setanta Sports, Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi seems to have found himself some keen admirers heading into the transfer season, with interest coming out of Canada of all places.
Former Geordie caretaker manager John Carver, who now finds himself in charge of Major League Soccer side Toronto FC, has always been a keen admirer of Ameobi, having watched him emerge as a footballer in the Newcastle youth academy.
The start of the 2008/2009 Major League Soccer season has brought about a drastic movement of change as Toronto appear to be finally settling properly in the league after a wayward rookie campaign.
With the additions of former PSG and Newcastle winger Laurent Robert, Amado Guevara, Rohan Ricketts, and Oliver Tebily, the established veterans have brought a new swagger of confidence to the Red Patch Boys in Canada.
However, in spite of these additions, Carver insists that he is in need of a striker with the abilities that Ameobi brings to the table.
"Shola is a kid I brought through the system at Newcastle United, and a kid I know an awful lot about. If I can get Shola into this football club, he would be a huge, huge asset for us," said the Toronto FC first-team coach.
Despite going undefeated in their last five games, Toronto is still struggling with their offensive production. With only one striker being deployed in their 4-5-1 formation, TFC striker Danny Dichio has found scoring hard to come by, with only two goals in his last eight matches.
While Carver's interest seems to be sincere, economics could prove to be a huge stumbling block for the Canadian soccer club. Ameobi, 26, who has just come out of a loan with Stoke City, is reportedly being slapped with a £4 million price tag. That could prove to be too costly for the MLS side.
Another name that has topped Carver's shortlist is Canaries' legend Darren Huckerby, after he had been released by Norwich manager Glenn Roeder. Mo Johnston, the Director of Soccer Operations, has reportedly filed a discovery claim on the talented veteran.
The winger had found himself struggling for his usual place in the starting eleven at Carrow Road and is now reportedly looking to America as a possible avenue to finish off his footballing career.
The 32-year-old has been tight-lipped about joining Major League Soccer, but stated that his options were limited following his vow to never play against Norwich in a professional match.
“Everyone thinks I am going to [North America], but we'll see. It's not as easy as me wanting to go somewhere. It's a difficult process. I don't know what's happening yet, but I'm going to try to stick to my promise that I'll never play against Norwich, so it cuts out a lot of potential moves.”
The addition of Huckerby would add to the further the squad's ambitions of achieving postseason play through the Eastern Conference. With Rohan Ricketts and Laurent Robert already establishing themselves on both flanks, Huckerby would be another enviable addition to a team that has already proved doubters wrong with their resurgent play of late.
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