Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has admitted Demba Ba's future lies in his own hands.
Speculation that the release-clause in the 11-goal striker's contract will be activated during the January transfer window mounted earlier this week when comments he made in a television interview with French broadcaster Canal+ were construed as an admission that Arsenal, one of the clubs linked with a move for him, represented an attractive proposition.
Having spoken to the hitman, Pardew is satisfied that his remarks have been misinterpreted, although there is little doubt that forces are at work behind the scenes which are beyond the Magpies' control. The manager said: "It's unfortunate that the contract he has leaves open a lot of questions."
Pardew added: "Because we have this clause and every window that comes around, I have to answer the same questions. It would be disappointing for him to leave in this window for this club and for his team-mates here, but the decision will be his, ultimately, because that clause is there.
"The most important things we have got with Demba is he is someone who is a goalscorer and he is scoring goals, and that's very, very important to a side. His commitment to and work-rate for the team, I don't fault."
Ba will not be disciplined over the interview, although the club were unhappy that he has not informed them of it, and having discussed the matter with the player, Pardew is content that the tenor of it was less contentious than at first met the eye.
He said: "I have had to because it was quoted in England not correctly, and that's unfair on Demba and unfair on us.
"There will be no disciplinary procedure against him. There was one procedural matter where he could have informed us and should have, really, but that's neither here nor there.
"The most important thing for me is that the content of that conversation was about trying to turn the situation around, like all of us.
"We are professional people, we want to win. That's what we are paid for and I have got no problem with anything he said in that interview."