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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Ameobi injured, Toon eye free transfers

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is set to delve into the free-transfer market after it was confirmed that striker Shola Ameobi has broken his cheekbone.

• Magpies striker woe as Ameobi ruled out

The Magpies, aiming to put the departure of star striker Andy Carroll behind them, suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Fulham on Wednesday and, to add insult to injury, Ameobi was elbowed out of the clash at Craven Cottage.

With the 29-year-old facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Pardew has acknowledged he may need to bolster his strike force, with only Nile Ranger, Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands available.

The Newcastle manager is also without Xisco and Ryan Donaldson, who are on loan at Deportivo la Coruna and Hartlepool respectively, while young forward Phil Airey is out with a hamstring strain.

Former Arsenal forward Jeremie Aliadiere is a viable option, with Pardew desperate to add some players to his depleted squad.

Pardew told the Evening Chronicle: "It is a possibility. We have to explore every avenue. The situation is we are short on bodies."

Ameobi could be out for a couple of months and Pardew added: "It is a massive blow. Shola is going to be crucial because we have already lost Andy Carroll. To lose him has put extra pressure on us all. The doctor thinks it might be the fracture of the cheekbone. The injury is going to keep him out for some time."

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