Days after hinting that his 2012 will be every bit as special as his 2011 by scoring his 22nd goal in 27 Premier League starts against Manchester United, Demba Ba’s Newcastle future has become the subject of much speculation.
Harry Redknapp, not for the first time, got the discussion going by engaging in gossip that the striker has a release clause, and the Daily Mail have elaborated by reporting that the Magpies are forced to accept any offer over £10 million.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the claims are accurate, as Ba had stipulations in his West Ham contract, one of which allowed him to leave after just half a season in east London without a fee following the club’s relegation from the Premier League.
Even then, despite netting seven times in ten starts for the worst side in the division, the queue to sign him was short, a likely legacy of fears over a long-term knee injury which Tony Pulis called a “ticking time-bomb” after a failed Stoke medical.
That much-discussed problem hasn’t flared up in his first year in England though, 34 appearances in that time showing that the situation can be managed with relative ease, and as such there are now numerous teams credited with an interest.
In addition to Redknapp talking him up, Manchester United and Chelsea have been mentioned as possible suitors, with many believing that Ba, who represents Senegal in the African Nations Cup this month, would be even more prolific at a top club.
The 26-year-old is just two goals behind the division’s top scorer Robin van Persie, and has impressed so much that he is 11/1 to lead the way by May despite his upcoming absence.
Newcastle meanwhile are 40/1 to finish the campaign in the top four following their 3-0 midweek victory over the champions, however the sale of one or two key players in January would surely scupper such ambitions.