Doubts persist about Ba's future


Soccer:Newcastle will not be held to ransom by striker Demba Ba’s representatives. Ba’s future on Tyneside has been thrown into doubt with manager Alan Pardew admitting the release clause which might have triggered his departure during the summer will become active again in January.

The Magpies have attempted to tie the 27-year-old Senegal international to a new deal which would not include a similar clause, but have yet to reach an agreement with the Ba camp looking for a significant increase in the player’s current weekly wage of around €55,000.

The matter came to a head this week when the striker admitted after scoring both his side’s goals in Monday’s 2-2 draw at Everton after coming off the bench that he has been unhappy with certain things. But the Newcastle hierarchy were less than impressed the following day when his agent, Alex Gontran, said the player did not understand the management and could consider his options if the situation persisted.

Pardew insisted last night that he had no problem with Ba despite what the Magpies believes has been a determined campaign to tout him around to potential suitors, and then when that failed to materialise, to win him a huge pay-rise.

However, it is believed that owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias, who have worked hard to slash costs in recent years, will simply not contemplate awarding a contract which would smash the wage structure they have put in place.

That could leave Pardew anxiously awaiting the closure of another transfer window and wondering if anyone will come up with the €10 million required to activate the clause. He was confident during the summer that Ba was happy to stay and the player has confirmed that on several occasions, but the latest developments are unwelcome to say the least.

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