Ba set to join Chelsea after Newcastle striker is given permission to speak to club
14:23 GMT, 2 January 2013
18:01 GMT, 2 January 2013
Newcastle United striker Demba Ba has been given permission to talk to Chelsea after the European champions became the first to invoke the Senegal international’s 7.5million release clause.
As a result, Ba has been withdrawn from Newcastle’s squad to face Everton at St James’s Park tonight.
Away: Demba Ba looks set to join Chelsea after being given permission to speak to the Stamford Bridge club
Manager Alan Pardew had been prepared to play his 27-year-old top scorer amid increasing uncertainty over his Newcastle future.
But Chelsea, who held talks with the
striker’s advisers on Sunday, are the first to offer the correct amount
to release him from the Newcastle contract he signed when he joined on a
free transfer from West Ham 18 months ago.
Main man: Ba has been in fine form for Newcastle, scoring 13 goals in a struggling side this season
A club statement said: 'Newcastle
United can confirm that Chelsea Football Club has made an official offer
for Demba Ba which has triggered the release clause in the player’s
'The Club has given the player
permission to speak to Chelsea FC and therefore he will not be included
in the squad for tonight’s game against Everton.’
Newcastle have been in talks with Ba
for several months in the hope of replacing that deal. Their final offer
remains on the table but Ba now looks certain to leave St James’s Park.
Get shirty: An image quickly circulated on Twitter of a Chelsea shirt being printed with 'Ba'
One Blues fan has already celebrated the potential switch to Stamford Bridge, getting the striker's name printed on the back of a Chelsea shirt. The move echoed the one done by the club in 2008 when they published images of a Robinho shirt on their website before the Brazilian joined Manchester City.
Chelsea’s move could also spark
copy-cat bids from Arsenal and Tottenham who are also interested in the
Paris-born Senegal forward.
Wave goodbye: Ba looks set to bid farewell to Tyneside and move south to London
Newcastle boss Pardew meanwhile will
use his fellow countryman Papiss Cisse as the central striker tonight.
Shola Ameobi, who has been withdrawn from Nigeria’s African Cup of
Nations squad, could also start.
But the pending departure of Ba will
heighten Newcastle’s need for replacements and they will hope to land
number one target Loic Remy from Marseille.
Their chief scout Graham Carr has
also targeted Ajax’s Dutch international Jody Lukoki who can play
upfront and on the right flank where Cisse has spent most of this