DEMBA Ba is available for a cut-price £7m in the January transfer window – and Newcastle United are facing another battle to hold on to the striker.
The Senegal international – who appears to be becoming increasingly unsettled at the club – is looking to renegotiate his deal at St James’s Park.
However, United are unwilling to meet his wage demands.
And it has emerged that Ba – who was available for about £7m during a two-month window in the summer – has another release clause in his contract.
The news comes after one of Ba’s representatives, Alex Gontran, spoke of the player’s unhappiness at his on-pitch role in the second half of last season.
Ba, rested for tonight’s game against Maritimo (6pm kick-off), also suggested that he was unhappy at one or two issues behind the scenes after scoring two goals in Newcastle’s 2-2 draw against Everton on Monday night.
His brother, Hamady, labelled United manager Alan Pardew “crazy” for leaving him out of his starting XI at Goodison Park.
As yet there has been no progress in protracted contract talks with the 27-year-old, who is demanding a significant hike in wages to sign a new deal at the club.
While Pardew has held clear-the-air talks with Ba since Gontran’s comments, the motivation of those around him – who would stand to gain financially from a move away from United – is a concern to Newcastle.
For his part, Pardew is confident his relationship with Ba remains strong, despite what has been said in recent days.
“I’ve got no problems with Demba,” said Pardew. “He’s a key player – trust me.
“He’s a team player, and that’s why I signed him. He’ll always be like that. I have spoken to him and he’s fine.
“Some of the comments said by (Gontran) are out of his control, and out of my control. We know each other well enough.
“It doesn’t really affect myself and Demba. We have a good relationship.
“The bottom line is you have to get players to play at their best. Sometimes there are different methods of doing it.”
The intricacies of Ba’s contract, however, remain a concern to Pardew, who pointedly added: “The situation is ongoing with him and his contract.”
Ba was available for £7m in the summer, but not club was willing to meet the fee – or his wage demands.
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