DEMBA Ba has revealed his frustration at Newcastle United’s style of play this season as the sense of uncertainty surrounding the striker’s future builds.
United’s top scorer has scored 11 times this season but, despite his fine form, the spectre of the upcoming transfer window looms large over both the striker and the club.
The Journal can reveal Newcastle have made their “best and final” offer to Ba who gave a revealing interview to French TV station Canal+ in which he talked candidly about interest from Arsenal and admitted to concern at a lack of creativity in the team.
That is unlikely to go down particularly well with Alan Pardew or the board, who privately admit the uncertainty over the striker is their biggest concern as they plan for January.
They have made an offer which would bring Ba parity with the club’s other big earners, but his advisers are not willing to agree a deal.
The Journal understands the player has expressed a desire to play in the Champions League while at the peak of his game and, although he said leaving is “not on his mind”, he also praised Arsenal in his interview, which was broadcast on Sunday night.
There is a conviction, however, the demands around the deal – any buying club may have to shell out almost double the £7.5million release clause to complete a deal – make it far from certain he will leave.
The uncertainty is not helpful, and it was surprising Ba spoke publicly over the weekend after maintaining a silence for much of the summer on his future.
He was speaking to the channel’s flagship football TV programme L’Equipe du Dimanche, who had journeyed to Newcastle after the striker agreed to their request for an interview.
Whether Pardew will welcome his intervention just before the January transfer window is another matter, although the striker did strike an optimistic note in the run-up to the crucial QPR clash on Saturday. Ba’s comments strike at the heart of many supporters concerns this season, with Newcastle clearly suffering because of injuries to two of their creative sparks Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa.
Ba said: “I’m not happy when the team does not create anything.
“Fans come to see beautiful games with beautiful actions and not long balls from the goalkeeper to the striker.”
On the prickly issue of his future, Ba admitted the Gunners are “very attractive” but made it clear there had been no contact from North London.
The Journal understands the player would only leave for Champions League football, with the wage demands not the only consideration of his agents as they try to resolve his future.
Ba himself said the links were a case of people putting two and two together, especially because of the clause inserted in his contract, and refused to be drawn in any depth on his intentions in the New Year.
He added: “Journalists just do their job.
“They know Arsenal need strikers, they know a release clause is inserted in my contract, so they make speculations.
“I don’t really want to comment on that, because there hasn’t been any contact, clearly, but it is true Arsenal are a very attractive club.”
In another segment on the TV programme, Ba was pictured taking a delivery of gym equipment – which the interviewer said was not exactly the actions of someone who was about to move.
That drew an interesting response from the Senegal striker.
He said: “I’ll do what I have to do in Newcastle and if I have to leave I will move all this stuff out.
“For now, though, it’s not in my mind.”
Newcastle need no distractions this weekend, especially with a game against QPR on the horizon. Harry Redknapp’s team won their first game of the season on Saturday and have not lost since the former Spurs boss took over – but. even so, Ba reckons they should be beaten at St James’ Park.
Taking heart from Newcastle’s display against Manchester City, Ba said Newcastle could handle the pressure of the must-win game.
He added: “Next Saturday against QPR, if we make mistakes the fans will become more demanding.
“If we play like we did against City, we should win.
“Don’t forget it was the champions we played last Saturday.”