NEWCASTLE United have given Chelsea permission to speak to Demba Ba after the London club triggered the £7.5m release clause in the striker's contract.
As a result, Ba has been withdrawn from the squad for this evening's Premier League game between Newcastle and Everton at St James' Park.
A group of people claiming to represent Ba met with Chelsea officials on Sunday evening to discuss a possible move to Stamford Bridge, but the initial round of talks ended without an agreement.
However, Chelsea officials have opted to follow up their interest with a formal offer, and the terms of Ba's contract mean Newcastle are powerless to prevent the Senegal international travelling to London to talk terms.
The Magpies will hope the transfer is concluded quickly in order to enable them to step up their own pursuit of replacement, with France international Loic Remy understood to be at the top of Alan Pardew's wanted list.
A Newcastle statement released this afternoon said: "Newcastle United can confirm that Chelsea Football Club has made an official offer for Demba Ba which has triggered the release clause in the player’s contract.
"The club has given the player permission to speak to Chelsea FC and therefore he will not be included in the squad for tonight’s game against Everton."