Magpies keep hold of Ba


Soccer:Demba Ba remained a Newcastle player this morning after the deadline to activate his release-clause passed. The 27-year-old Senegal international had repeatedly expressed his desire to remain on Tyneside and Alan Pardew was confident of retaining his services, although with speculation continuing over his future, there was a sense of trepidation as the July 31st cut-off point neared.

It is understood the clause would have been triggered at €10 million, and that any club still interested in securing the former Hoffenheim frontman’s services would have to come up with double that to prise him away from the Magpies before the closure of the summer transfer window at the end of this month.

However, whether or not any club would be prepared to invest that heavily in a player whose proposed switch to Stoke in January 2011 collapsed over fears about a knee problem remain to be seen. Ba finished his first season at Newcastle as leading scorer with 16 goals, three ahead of compatriot Papiss Cisse, who proved a sensation following his January arrival from Freiburg.

Fifteen of Ba’s goals came before he headed off on African Nations Cup duty at the turn of the year, and although he was asked to play a different role during the second half of the season which made adding to his tally more difficult, he will be keen to make an impressive start to the forthcoming campaign.

The player and his representatives would have benefited significantly in financial terms from a move under the clause, and there is a feeling that much of the rumour has been sparked by members of his own camp. However, Pardew will hope the midnight deadline brought an end to all that and he can now press ahead with his preparations for the new season.

Ba is not the only Magpies player to have been linked with a move away from the club this summer and the manager could face another anxious few weeks hoping to retain his best players while adding to them. His pursuit of Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy is ongoing, while he remains an interested spectator in the Andy Carroll saga.

West Ham’s efforts to strike a loan deal with a view to a permanent transfer for the 23-year-old England international seem doomed to failure with the striker having indicated he does not want to leave Liverpool permanently.

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