DEMBA BA was at the double to help Newcastle United return to winning ways last night before Alan Pardew revealed high hopes that ongoing talks designed to keep the striker at St James’ Park will be successful.
Ba took his tally to ten goals this season to climb level with Swansea’s Michu, Manchester United’s Robin van Persie and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez in the Premier League’s leading scorer charts.
His two goals inside eight first half minutes put Newcastle on their way to a comfortable 3-0 win over Wigan Athletic, who played the majority of the game with ten men after the sending off of Maynor Figueroa.
While Ba’s return could be perfect for Newcastle’s season, his performances could also remind other clubs of a clause in his contract which allows him to leave for £7.5m.
With the January transfer window approaching, Pardew would love for the situation to change.
“The truth is he has got a clause and it is hanging over us,” said the Newcastle boss.
“He has never looked me in the eye and suggested anything other than he wants to stay here. I hope he does.
“The situation has not changed. Demba is a player who loves it here, he understands it is a football city. We have tried to do a deal with him and take the clause out.
“At the minute we have not done that, so the clause is still hanging over us. It makes it difficult for me in the next window. It makes it difficult for Demba and it makes it difficult for the club.”
Ba was one of three Newcastle players to have their appearance last night cut short through injury. He went off with a hamstring problem, as did Cheik Tiote while Davide Santon picked up a groin complaint.
All three are likely to miss Thursday’s trip to Bordeaux in Europa League, although Pardew is hopeful the latest problems will not mean the club’s busy treatment room is set for more long term casualties.
He said: “We couldn’t take any risks. I think the three were precautionary rather than requiring horrible scans.
Fingers crossed they might all make Fulham next Monday.”
Pardew was clearly relieved to see Newcastle prevent a fifth Premier League defeat, which would have been the first time the Magpies had endured a league run like that since 1991-92.
But he admitted Newcastle were fortunate when referee Michael Jones showed Figueroa the red card when he was deemed to have shoved Papiss Cisse to the floor in the box in the 12th minute at 0-0.
“It was nice to get a break, and it was a break,” admitted Pardew. “I am not a great lover of that rule, a penalty and a sending off.
“At the time in real motion, I thought it was a penalty because he lifts his arm at the end of the action. When you come across in a goalscoring chance, the ref has a difficult decision to make. That put us in a great position, we were really at it and that’s what you like to see.
“It was a massive victory for us. We had to stand tall. Four defeats in this city is not good for any team. I am relieved for my staff if I’m honest. We have shown we have got good unity and go for next game.”
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is contemplating appealing against Figueroa’s red card.
“It was a key decision. In the space of ten minutes we went two goals down and had a man sent off,” said Martinez.
“Figueroa is allowed to challenge for the ball ... it was a really strong punishment.
“It was a shoulder to shoulder challenge, that’s allowed.
The law of the game is that you can challenge for the position.
I thought it was very harsh.
“Maynor was destroyed. It was a decision that changed the dynamics of the game.
Then to concede a penalty was a double punishment.”