Sources: Cosmos nearly signed Crystal Palace striker Shola Ameobi


Former Everton striker Samuel Eto’o was not the only Premier League player the New York Cosmos targeted this offseason.

EOS has learned former Newcastle United striker and current Crystal Palace man Shola Ameobi came close to a deal to join the Cosmos as early as last month.

Ameobi, 33, has spent his career with the Magpies, going through their academy and earning 312 appearances and 53 goals through his 14 years at Tyneside.  He found himself a man without club in late December, leaving Turkish side Gaziantep Büyükşehir Belediyespor mere months after signing a one-year deal, citing family reasons for the departure.

The Cosmos reached out to Ameobi to gauge interest, and found a receptive player. That may be influenced, in part, by Ameobi’s familiarity with the league. After all, his brother Tomi, 26, plays for FC Edmonton, where he net six goals through 23 appearances last season.

While talks were progressing and both parties seemed ready to finalize a deal, a wrench was thrown into the works. Former Newcastle boss Alan Pardew took the helm at Crystal Palace last month. Pardew immediately reached out to his former striker, inviting him to reunite under the Eagles’ banner. With both Palace and the Cosmos vying for his signature, Ameobi eschewed his American aspirations, putting New York aside for one more jaunt through the Premier League with his longtime boss.

Ameobi’s rejection didn’t hamper the Cosmos offseason activity.  While they pursued Eto’o until his eventual signing with Sampdoria, they found more success on the domestic front, acquiring striker Lucky Mkosona and midfielders Walter Restrepo, Leo Fernandes and Adam Moffat. They also re-signed striker Mads Stokkelien to an extension, securing their top goal and assist man from 2014.

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