Pardew hopeful of hanging on to Ba as striker's 7.5m release clause looms
23:00 GMT, 11 July 2012
He signed a 7.5million release clause last summer when Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was the one man prepared to take a risk on him.
Twelve months on and Demba Ba’s future at the club is uncertain. But with less than three weeks left before that clause can be invoked, Pardew is optimistic the Senegal striker will still be a Newcastle player for the start of the new season.
Hopeful: Alan Pardew is hopeful Demba Ba will stay at Newcastle
Ba is back for pre-season at Newcastle’s sodden training ground and will be among the party travelling to Germany for a training camp and warm-up games on Wednesday.
Bargain: Ba has a release clause of 7.5million
Only France internationals Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa will be missing with Tim Krul and Papiss Cisse due to join the squad before the weekend.
Pardew said: 'I’ve not seen any sign from Demba since he came back, and he’s actually training very well, that suggest he wants to find another club. I don’ t sense that at all.
'I genuinely don’t see a situation where he wants to move on. He has not stressed to me he wants to move to pastures new.
'He has said to me he wants some reassurance from me, he wants more of a striking role this season and I think he will.
'He played a couple of roles that were unorthodox for me last season to help the team, that’s the sort of person he is.
'He wants to play through the middle and score goals, that’s what he does best.
'The situation has been the same since he arrived at the club. He has a contract to Newcastle and he is loved here.
'He had a brilliant season, especially the first half, then after the African Nations, I think it did not go as well for him as it could have.
Still team-mates: Ba (left) partnered compatriot Papiss Cisse up front
'That is something we will look at because we want him to be at his very, very best.
'But we are planning for him to have another great season with us.’
After his failed medical at Stoke, and despite his seven goals in 12 games for relegated West Ham, Ba was perceived as a risk last year when Newcastle signed him for nothing.
His response, after an initial settling in period of a month, was to score 14 goals in 16 games from September.
And when news of his clause was leaked, the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool were quickly sniffing around the 27-year-old.
Star men: Pardew will hope to hang on to Yohan Cabaye (left) and Cheick Tiote
His advisers, who will benefit from any sale, have not been backward in offering the forward to numerous clubs either.
Ba scored just once after the African Cup Nations, and the addition of fellow-countryman Cisse, but interest from Newcastle’s Barclays Premier League rivals remains while the club are hoping to re-open fresh contract negotiations with the striker and his advisers after initial talks earlier this week.
Pardew is relaxed about the on-going speculation. He has already fended off the link with Cabaye and Barcelona, and he knows the stars who guided Newcastle to fifth last season will be subject to increasing uncertainty until the transfer window closes in August.