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Page last updated at 09:58 GMT, Thursday, 10 February 2011

Newcastle sign striker Shefki Kuqi

Shefki Kuqi
Kuqi is well-known for his trademark goal celebration

Newcastle United have confirmed the signing of striker Shefki Kuqi until the end of the season.

Finland international Kuqi, 34, was a free agent after leaving Swansea by mutual consent at the end of January.

He is a stopgap replacement for Andy Carroll, who was sold to Liverpool on the last day of the January transfer window for £35m.

The Magpies were further depleted when Shola Ameobi suffered a fractured cheekbone against Fulham on 2 February.

Newcastle had also been linked with former Arsenal and Middlesbrough striker Jeremie Aliadiere, who is currently unattached, but went for Kuqi as he is much closer to match fitness and can, if needed, be called upon straight away by manager Alan Pardew.

He joins Peter Lovenkrands, Nile Ranger and Leon Best as the club's available strikers.

"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 10 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."

Newcastle have had to acquire a free agent as they were unable to bring in a replacement for Carroll because his dramatic move to Liverpool went through so late on transfer deadline day.

Kuqi, who celebrates his goals with a flying bellyflop, first came to England when Stockport County signed him in 2001. He has since played for Sheffield Wednesday Ipswich, Blackburn, Crystal Palace and Fulham.

He signed for Swansea in January 2010 and scored seven goals in 24 appearances either side of a loan three-month loan spell at Derby.

Meanwhile, Ameobi underwent surgery on Wednesday and the club hope he could return quicker than the original estimate of six weeks.

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see also
Kuqi Swansea contract terminated
26 Jan 11 |  Swansea
Kuqi returns to Swans after loan
13 Dec 10 |  Derby
Derby want to extend Kuqi's stay
06 Oct 10 |  Derby
Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal
05 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Pardew vows to spend Carroll cash
01 Feb 11 |  Newcastle
Carroll seals switch to Liverpool
31 Jan 11 |  Liverpool
Ameobi injury rocks boss Pardew
02 Feb 11 |  Premier League

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