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Pardew urges Ba to provide transfer clarification
ALAN Pardew has urged Demba Ba to bring an end to the fevered speculation regarding his future by making a definitive statement about his plans for this month's transfer window.
The transfer market swung back into action this morning with Ba's position as uncertain as ever in the wake of Sunday night's meeting between a group of people claiming to be his representatives and senior figures at Chelsea.
The meeting ended without an agreement, and with doubts having been expressed about the true relationship between the figures currently claiming to represent Ba and the striker himself, Pardew is ready to select Newcastle United's leading goalscorer for tomorrow night's home game with Everton.
However, the current situation is clearly untenable, and with more than four weeks of transfer activity permitted until the window closes again on January 31, the Newcastle hierarchy share a strong desire to see Ba provide some much-needed clarification over his plans.
There is a contract offer from the Magpies on the table, and while it will not be improved despite Ba's desire to see his basic wage rise to around £80,000-a-week, there is still hope both parties can come to an agreement. If that is impossible, however, it is in everyone's best interests for a £7.5m sale to be concluded quickly.
“This is a big club and I think perhaps he needs to make a statement at some point,” said Pardew. “I think he needs, in this window, to make a decision fairly early. I think for everyone's sake, most of all himself, and especially for our fans – they need to know if he's going with us to the summer or not.
“We need to know as well, we need to make sure that we have a replacement ready if he leaves. I do feel that he needs to give a message of some description. We're in an important stage of the season for us. We had a terrible result against Arsenal and we need to turn that around.”
Both Pardew and managing director Derek Llambias had always expected this to be a difficult month given the existence of the £7.5m buy-out clause in Ba's contract, and while the completed capture of Mathieu Debuchy represents some much-needed good news, Sunday's much-publicised developments in London caused considerable anger.
The entire Ba saga has been played out in public, largely because of the large number of people who claim to represent the Senegal international, many of whom only boast tenuous links to the striker and are nakedly pursuing their own agenda.
Newcastle officials are powerless to prevent these agents and business associates from approaching other clubs, although the Magpies are still to receive a single formal offer for their leading marksman.
“In some respects, I feel a little bit sorry for Demba because I think people are representing him who are not actually representing him,” said Pardew. “There are people out there who are fuelling this who are not actually involved. But they want to be involved and that is the sort of world we are in.
“There is (a deal on the table). The situation with that is that it's getting close to the point where we say no more. But the offer is still there. I still think that it's even whether he will stay or go. In this window and in the situation we're in, I'd like to think he will stay. But that will be his decision.”
In the meantime, Ba will remain available for selection, although it will be interesting to see what kind of reception he receives if, as expected, he starts at St James' Park tomorrow.
“That's one thing I don't have to worry about because I think Demba is as mentally strong a player as I have come across,” said Pardew. “He's had to cope with his injury earlier in his career and disappointments with the way some clubs have treated him.
“He can't be disappointed with the way we've treated him. We've been brilliant for him and therefore I hope he rewards us by staying with us for the next couple of years.”
While Ba is expected to start tomorrow, Danny Simpson will not be involved after breaking his toe in the first half of Saturday's calamitous 7-3 defeat at Arsenal. “He will definitely miss the next three or four games and that's compounded our issues a little bit,” admitted Pardew.
Mike Williamson returns after serving a one-game suspension, with James Perch expected to fill in at right-back, and Steven Taylor and Yohan Cabaye could both be available for the game against Norwich on January 12 after stepping up their training yesterday.
Debuchy will also be available for the trip to Carrow Road, provided he passes a medical and agrees the personal terms of a £5.5m switch from Lille later this week.
“A player of his quality and stature will boost everybody – our senior players, our staff, everybody,” said Pardew. “I hope we do bring in a player of that stature.”
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