Demba Ba close to Stamford Bridge move
Chelsea are confident of agreeing personal terms with Demba Ba and completing the €8.5 million signing of the Newcastle United striker today, although they will insist on him taking a medical at the club.
The Senegal striker did not undergo the procedure before he joined Newcastle in the summer of 2011 due to the condition of his right knee and he had failed a medical in January of that year, before a proposed transfer to Stoke City, when the joint was thoroughly examined. Instead, he joined West Ham United in the same winter window.
The chronic problem did not stop him from training fully at Newcastle, nor impressing with his pace, power and goals. He scored 29 times in 51 Premier League starts and was a fans’ favourite before his sudden desire to defect to London.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew, talking before last night’s game against Everton at St James’ Park, for which Ba was omitted, said: “It’s done. He will go to Chelsea with our blessing. He has done fantastic for us and it’s not a bad thing, all the uncertainty is now done and we can move on. This club is bigger than any player for sure.”
Chelsea met Ba’s people on Sunday night and they were told that the 27-year-old wanted a long-term contract worth €110,000 a week.
It is unclear whether Chelsea have met the demand or how the payment will be structured – Ba’s contract at Newcastle was heavily incentivised – but there was the belief at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea were unexpectedly beaten by Queens Park Rangers last night, that nothing should stand in the way of the deal being finalised – not even the seven-figure fees the agents have sought.
Chelsea went to Newcastle yesterday with the bid that triggered the buy-out clause in Ba’s contract. Rafael Benitez wants Ba to join Chelsea in time for Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Southampton as the manager is aware of the physical demands being placed on Fernando Torres.
Pardew admitted the timing of the news was not ideal, but added: “The ball was always in Demba’s court.” A club statement had earlier read: “Newcastle United can confirm that Chelsea Football Club has made an official offer for Demba Ba which has triggered the release clause in the player’s contract. The club has given the player permission to speak to Chelsea FC and therefore he will not be included in the squad for tonight’s game against Everton.”
The move comes as little surprise after the Londoners held talks with the player’s representatives at the weekend. Those discussions were later described as “unproductive”, but there was a feeling that it would not be the end of the matter.
Newcastle have tried unsuccessfully to renegotiate Ba’s contract in recent months to prevent a repeat of the speculation which surrounded him during the summer.