Ameobi extends Newcastle contract

Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi has signed a new three-year contract to stay at St James Park, the club have announced.

The 27-year-old, one of four men to be offered new deals last month, became the first to put pen to paper and will provide a much-needed boost for coach Joe Kinnear. The former England U-21 international spent the latter part of last season on loan at Stoke, but he rejected a permanent move to the Midlands side, prompting enquiries from Ipswich and Norwich.

"I'm delighted to sign a new deal and commit my future to Newcastle United," Ameobi told the club's website. Kinnear will now hope for similar responses from key midfielder Nicky Butt and goalkeeper Steve Harper, who also received offers in December, although he will have to wait until the end of the season for a decision from Michael Owen.

Nigeria-born Ameobi, who was brought up on Tyneside from the age of five, emerged from the ranks at St James' Park under Sir Bobby Robson, making his senior debut as a substitute against Chelsea in September 2000. He has 244 appearances to his name, 100 of them as a substitute, and is one short of 50 goals for the club.