Demba Ba: I have a job to finish at Newcastle United

DEMBA Ba has told rival suitors he plans to finish what he started at Newcastle United.

Demba Ba

DEMBA Ba has told rival suitors he plans to finish what he started at Newcastle United.

The Magpies’ 15-goal top-scorer is in Dhaka preparing for the African Cup of Nations.

He left amid speculation over his future after it was alleged there was a buyout clause in his three-year St James’ Park contract.

Newcastle are refusing to comment on the rumour, given credence by Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp.

The Spurs boss, who is not thought to be interested in the Senegalese striker, suggested the figure which would trigger a sale was “less than £7m”, while others have claimed it only applies to clubs who qualified for this season’s European competitions.

Short of denying the clause, the only other things likely to stop rumours about Ba’s future this month are his departure or a new contract.

Were it untrue, Newcastle’s notoriously litigious hierarchy would surely say so to kill unsettling rumours.

A clause would force them to sell to any club whose bid reached the magic number – if Ba wanted to leave, but his interview with French radio station RMC suggests that is not the case.

Asked about a move to Paris Saint-Germain, Ba replied: “Yes, why not? I have always supported PSG and it is a club who are enticing.

“However, it will be difficult to do that in January.

“I am in Newcastle, the fans like me, and the transfer market will be closed when I go back, so I am not focused on it. My first goal is the (African Cup of Nations), and getting a good result, then I want to continue playing well for Newcastle.

“We have started something and I would like to go all the way with the club.”

Newcastle are thought to be considering offering the striker a new contract without the clause or raising its buyout figure.

Such clauses are commonplace, and the Magpies exploited one in the 26-year-old’s last deal to sign him for free after West Ham United’s relegation.

The logistics of negotiating in January are complicated by Ba’s international duties.

From their pre-tournament training camp in Bangladesh, Senegal move to Bata in Equatorial Guinea for their African Cup group games. Senegal head coach Amara Traoré is unlikely to want players distracted by contract negotiations.

The Cup, co-hosted with Gabon, starts on January 21, with Senegal playing on the opening day.

Their final group game is on January 29, but hopes are high the Lions of Teranga can finish above at least two from Zambia, Libya and their hosts. The final is on February 12.

Ba joined West Ham from Hoffenheim last January when a move to Stoke City fell through because of a degenerative knee condition highlighted by the medical.

His record in English football is 22 goals from 34 appearances.

He has missed just three Premier League matches.

Newcastle have already warned supporters that, for a second transfer window running, they intend to renege on their promise to sign a “big-name” striker, and selling Ba would cause outrage – whether he was replaced or not.

Andy Carroll left for £35m in the final hours of last January, too late to land a suitable replacement. Fans were told he would be forthcoming in the summer, Ba simply bolstering numbers.

Sochaux’s Modibo Maiga was their mid-season target, but the Magpies got cold feet about a £7m move after a medical revealed his own knee problem.

Manager Alan Pardew does not expect to sign an alternative, leaving Leon Best, Shola Ameobi and Peter Løvenkrands as the only recognised out-and-out strikers until Ba’s return.

Newcastle are assessing a shoulder injury to their only ever-present, Danny Simpson, ahead of Sunday’s visit of Queens Park Rangers, while Danny Guthrie is due to make his comeback from a groin injury.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer