Newcastle United sign Shefki Kuqi

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NEWCASTLE United today signed free agent Shefki Kuqi to bolster their depleted attack, writes MILES STARFORTH.

The veteran forward has joined on a short-term contract until the end of the season.

And Kuqi – who left Swansea City last month – could make his debut against former club Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

The 34-year-old Finland international – who last night had a medical at St James’s Park – adds to boss Alan Pardew’s options after the sale of Andy Carroll and the injury suffered by Shola Ameobi.

While clearly a short-term solution, Pardew’s still confident the imposing player can make a contribution to his team between now and the end of the season.

“We needed another option up-front, because we’re a little light there due to the temporary loss of Shola, and Shefki will provide us with something different,” said Pardew.

“He’s match fit, and knows the English game well having been in the country for the best part of ten years. He is ready straight away, and that’s what we wanted.

“Shefki is a good, honest pro who will give us a strong physical presence from the bench.”

Kuqi has spent the bulk of the past decade in England, first joining Stockport.

And he went on to have spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn and Crystal Palace before moving to Germany.

A year ago, Kuqi joined Swansea, and also had an emergency loan spell at Derby County earlier this season.

However, his contract at the Liberty Stadium was cancelled by mutual consent last month, and, a free agent, was able to join United outside the transfer window.

Ameobi is facing up to two months on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on his fractured cheekbone, while the timing of Carroll’s deadline-day sale to Liverpool meant Pardew was unable to sign a replacement.

Meanwhile, Brazilian free agent Ewerthon has reportedly turned down an approach from Newcastle.

The 29-year-old striker’s representative, Barry McIntosh, said: “There has been an offer from Newcastle. However, the player is still considering his options. That is all we can say at the moment.”