ALAN Pardew’s still hopeful Demba Ba’s long-term future lies at Newcastle United.
The striker took his goal tally for the season into double figures with two first-half goals in last night’s 3-0 win over Wigan Athletic at St James’s Park.
Ba’s future was again in the headlines in the build-up to the game. The 27-year-old is available for a cut-price £7.5m in next month’s transfer window because of a release clause in his contract.
Newcastle have offered Ba a significant increase on his reported £40,000-a-week wage, but the Senegal international could double his salary with a move elsewhere.
While negotiations have stalled, Pardew’s still hopeful a compromise can be reached.
“Information about Demba’s contract has leaked out since we’ve been here, and these are things I don’t think are acceptable,” said Pardew.
“But the truth of is that Demba’s got a clause in his contract, and it’s still hanging over us.
“We’ve tried to negotiate away, and we’ve not managed to do that as yet.
“But the one thing I will say, on a positive note, is that he’s never, if I’m honest, looked me in the eye and looked like he wanted to do anything else but stay here, and I hope he does.”
Ba – who is interesting Liverpool and Galatasaray – netted his first from the penalty spot after Papiss Demba Cisse was brought down by Maynor Figueroa.
And he scored a second after goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi spilled a shot from Davide Santon.
“He’s been brilliant for us,” added Pardew. “At times, he’s important in the dressing room, and with everything else that he brings to the club.
“I’ve tried to encourage him to be more vocal in the dressing room because he’s a leader, but the 10 goals is a nice target for him.”