Thursday 18 January 2018

Ba humbug as furious Toon to fine striker over Arsenal link

Demba Ba. Photo: Getty Images
Demba Ba. Photo: Getty Images

Luke Edwards and Jason Burt

Newcastle could fine Demba Ba for giving an interview in which he admitted he was interested in a move to Arsenal.

Manager Alan Pardew (below) is closing in on the signing of France striker Loic Remy from Marseille in a €14m (£11.4m) deal, but Newcastle are annoyed with Ba's comments.

Ba's future at St James' Park has been a constant source of speculation since his advisers leaked the existence of a £7m release clause 12 months ago, but he caused a stir on Tyneside this week when he openly admitted Arsenal were "attractive" to him.

Newcastle are far from happy with the Senegal international, who made his comments on French TV, and Pardew will discuss with managing director Derek Llambias what action to take.

Ba also criticised the team's tactics and, as the interview was not sanctioned by the club's press department, he is in breach of contract and could be fined two weeks' wages, about £90,000.

It remains to be seen whether a player who has been hankering for a move in the last two transfer windows finally leaves, particularly as there are doubts about whether interested clubs will be able to insure him for the value of his £7m release clause because of a long-standing knee problem.

Newcastle appear to have decided they will sign another striker regardless. Ba, who has scored 11 Premier League goals this season, was given a final new contract offer by Newcastle last month in an attempt to remove the clause, but his representatives have not even responded to it and are demanding wages well in excess of Newcastle's budget.

The club have been scouting the versatile Remy since 2010 and were first linked with a move for him in the summer. Marseille appear to be willing to sell next month.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Queens Park Rangers have all been linked with the 25-year-old, but Remy is keen on the move to Tyneside.

"They are a very good team," Remy said. "They are a big club with good players, very good fans and a nice stadium that is always full.

"If I have to leave then all parties must be happy." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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