DEMBA Ba is growing increasingly frustrated with speculation linking him with a move away from Newcastle United - and is focused on returning for pre-season training in seven days.
Another round of reports over the weekend sparked fresh talk of Ba quitting Newcastle, which has been a constant theme of the close season.
But The Journal understands that claims Ba is set for talks with Fenerbahce are untrue – while the striker himself has privately distanced himself from the links with other clubs.
The Senegal man and his brother have been quick to re-assure Newcastle that the links with Turkey and Tottenham that have appeared over the summer are nothing to do with them, and have not been encouraged by them.
Ba (right) has been in the Middle East on a religious pilgrimage but will return to the UK this week and has every intention of reporting for the start of pre-season on July 5.
Privately, he is understood to favour signing a new long-term deal with Newcastle, but is aware that United are unlikely to make him an offer this summer. The club tend to look at
re-negotiating contracts in their second year, believing that doing so after 12 months is bad practice.
Ba’s unique contract situation means that United are vulnerable to offers for him – with a clause in the deal signed by Newcastle allowing him to talk to interested clubs, if they meet a £7.5m valuation.
Ba and his family stand to make a substantial amount of money if he does leave Tyneside.
However, for clubs interested in obtaining the striker’s services, it is not as simple as merely matching the valuation of his get-out clause.
Just as there were when United signed him on a supposed ‘free’ transfer there are other fees to pay.
And therefore a deal that might look like a bargain is not quite so clear-cut.
That has put some clubs off trying to broker a deal for him, while The Journal understands that some agents claiming to represent the striker have not even been given a mandate to act on his behalf – hence the confusion surrounding the player.
There are also lingering concerns over his knee problem, despite a full season in which he didn’t miss a single game for Newcastle.
United have already begun to source alternatives to Ba if he does leave, but the move for Luuk de Jong is not conditional on the Senegal forward leaving St James’ Park.
Meanwhile, Newcastle will head to Germany in a little over three weeks as part of their pre-season programme.
United will take on German third tier side Chemnitzer FC on July 13 – scheduled to be the first of three games in the country.
Chemnitzer, who are based near Dresden in the Saxony region of Germany, announced the friendly on Friday and although there has been no confirmation from United, it is understood to be correct.
United are now in negotiations with other German clubs to play games in the week beginning July 15 – a tour that will precede their participation in the Algarve competition later next month.
The Magpies will play Olympiakos and Porto on July 27 and 28 respectively, but have shelved plans to play another game out in Portugal in favour of a short trip to Germany.
The facilities and climate in the latter are seen as perfect for early season games.