By Darren Lewis, Alan Nixon
Demba Ba is set to leave Newcastle – within the first week of the January transfer window.
The Magpies have so far been unable to agree a new deal with the striker, and want to move him on early if they cannot convince him to stay so they can focus on bringing in a replacement.
They do not want a repeat of the Andy Carroll situation, which saw the England target-man sold to Liverpool on the final day of the January 2011 transfer window – too late for Newcastle to bring in anyone else.
Marseille hitman Loic Remy has re-emerged among the Magpies’ main candidates to come in this time around.
The Geordies have made contact with Remy and Marseille about a possible move next month and are hopeful that a £10million deal can be struck.
Arsenal, also interested in Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Liverpool are the latest clubs linked with Ba, who will once again be available for a knockdown £7million because of a clause in his contract.
Ba, who has scored 10 times in 17 appearances this season, earns a basic wage of £35,000-a-week at St James’ Park, topped up with £25,000 appearance money.
Although Ba has not agitated for a move, he has already turned down an offer of a new £70,000-a-week deal from Newcastle, who desperate to negotiate out of the clause in his contract.
His advisers want closer to £80k-a-week – a salary Toon supremo Mike Ashley is unwilling to sanction.
The problem for Newcastle is they are now well aware that the knee problem that had worried clubs such as Stoke last year is no longer an issue for other sides.
Ba went on to become top scorer for West Ham during the back end of the 2010-11 season. Last term, he hit 16 goals for Newcastle.
The Mirror understands his advisers were told by club chiefs when the player signed that they were prepared for him to move on after just one season, not expecting Ba to make the impact he has.
Under the terms of his current contract, Newcastle will see around only half of his £7.5m fee – Ba himself will pick up £2.5m from any transfer with agents’ fees on top.