Football Insider: Chelsea prepared to sell Ba

The Northern Echo: Former Newcastle striker Demba Ba Former Newcastle striker Demba Ba

JOSE MOURINHO will be officially presented as Chelsea's new manager this afternoon – and one of his first acts could be to axe former Newcastle United striker Demba Ba.

Mourinho is looking to bring in at least two big-name strikers this summer, with Hulk and Edinson Cavani at the top of his wanted list.

Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle and Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic have also been discussed as possible options, but if Mourinho signs new attackers, he will be encouraged to sell at least one of his current centre-forwards.

Fernando Torres would be the first choice to go, but Roman Abramovich will refuse to take a major hit on the £50m fee he shelled out to sign the Spaniard from Liverpool.

Therefore, Ba could well be the fall guy, with Chelsea all but guaranteed to make a profit after they exploited a clause in the striker's Newcastle contract to sign him for just £7m in January.

Ba scored two Premier League goals for Chelsea last season, and Mourinho does not see him as the man to fire the Blues back into the Premier League title chase.

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ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger is determined to loosen the purse strings this summer, and German midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Lars Bender feature prominently on his wanted list.

Gundogan, who was a key part of Borussia Dortmund's run to the Champions League final, and Bender, who has had an impressive season with Bayer Leverkusen, are two of the most highly-rated midfielders in the Bundesliga.

But despite the German league's advances in recent seasons, Wenger is confident he can persuade Dortmund and Leverkusen to part with one of their key assets for around £15m each.

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SHEFFIELD UNITED are poised to appoint former Scotland international David Weir as their new manager.

Having dismissed Danny Wilson towards the end of last season, the Blades had been hoping to appoint Stuart McCall. However, McCall refused to leave his current post at Motherwell.

Weir, who had been a reserve-team coach at Everton, was interviewed for the manager's job at Goodison Park, only for Roberto Martinez to get the nod.

However, the 43-year-old Scot is close to agreeing a deal with Sheffield United, who will be targeting promotion from League One next season.

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FORMER Middlesbrough midfielder Gary O'Neil remains hopeful of securing a new deal with West Ham despite being put on the Premier League's free agent list.

The 30-year-old is about to come to the end of his current deal, but talks over a new contract at Upton Park remain ongoing.

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READING have signed Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge on a one-year deal. Bridge spent last season on loan at Brighton.

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